Director: Phil Karlson
Hard-nosed editor Crawford takes over an ailing newspaper and uses a double murder to boost his tabloid's circulation. He then discovers that his hero worshipping cub reporter-protege (Derek) has mastered the art of sensationalism all too well. When he accidentally kills his wife, his reporters begin their own investigation and start coming too close for comfort. Donna Reed plays devil's advocate to Crawford's ways, disapproving of his recourse to sensational journalism as a circulation builder.
Samuel Fuller's psychological thriller about the darker side of yellow journalism, published in 1944, was originally written as a possible project for director/producer Howard Hawks.
- Paul Harris
"Crawford's character is a villain, but he is also understandable and sympathetic. We watch as this ambitious, hard-working man disintegrates into a cynical, cold-hearted murderer, and at the end there is a tragic sense of loss. The mentor-protege relationship between Crawford and Derek is especially ironic because the former created the monster that ultimately destroyed him." - Ross and Nash, The Motion Picture Guide
"The central figures in (film noir) are caught in double binds, filled with existential bitterness, drowning outside the social mainstream, and are Americas stylised vision of itself, a true cultural reflection of the mental dysfunction of a nation in uncertain transition." - Alain Silver and Elizabeth Ward, Film Noir
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