Scandal Sheet

Scandal Sheet

Scandal Sheet (1952) is a black-and-white film noir directed by Phil Karlson. The film is based on the novel, The Dark Page,, by Samuel Fuller who himself was a newspaper reporter before his career in film. The drama features Broderick Crawford, Donna Reed, John Derek, among others.


A newspaper man, Mark Chapman (Broderick Crawford), takes over an ailing New York daily newspaper, the fictional New York Express, and revives it as a scandal sheet by staging a number of publicity stunts. The man's wife, whom he left penniless years ago, resurfaces and threatens to blackmail him. He kills her, accidentally, but then tries to cover it up.

Meanwhile, the paper's star reporter Steve McClearly (John Derek) begins investigating the unsolved murder. As McClearly, and feature writer Julie Allison (Donna Reed) dig deeper, the noose begins to tighten around the killer's neck.

A former Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the Express, Charlie Barnes, who has become alcoholic, stumbles upon Chapman in the Bowery, who gives Barnes a cash handout. Accidentally included in the handout is a pawn shop receipt for the dead woman's suitcase. Barnes claims the suitcase and finds that Chapman is the murderer, and calls Allison & McCleary. McCleary thinks that Barnes is too drunk and is calling in a phony story, which angers Barnes and makes him threaten to take the story to a competitor, the fictional Daily Leader. Chapman hears about Barnes going to the Leader and accosts Barnes near the Leader headquarters and Chapman then murders Barnes.

McCleary and Allison take a trip to Connecticut to find the judge who married the mystery woman and Chapman, brings the judge back to the Express, who identifies Chapman as the groom, but under a different name.


Critical review

Critic Dennis Schwartz called the drama a "hard-hitting film noir thriller" and liked the camera work. He wrote, "Burnett Guffey's splashy black-and-white photography is filled with New York City atmosphere and the whirlwind energy buzzing around a press room.


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