Monday, July 26, 2010

159) Scandal Sheet (1952)

159) Scandal Sheet (1952) Dir: Phil Karlson Date Released: January 1952 Date Seen: April 30, 2010 Rating: 3.75/5

While I intermittently got a kick out of this film's staunch belief in the vital role newspapers play in informing and educating the public, not to mention its screwball dialogue and quirky noir plot, what I really took away from Scandal Sheet was Broderick Crawford's performance. This was the first role where I noticed Crawford, though now I'm sure I must have seen him many times before. He's kind of unmistakable, thoroughly uni-faceted in his acting but excellent in portraying a thuggish bluecollar bully mentality.

Crawford's a bear of a man and his tough but mercurial persona makes you want to root for him as an underdog even when he's the one you're meant to root against. The scene where he confronts an old acquaintance of his early on in the film and kinda accidentally kills her especially stands out, not just because it's winningly lurid but because it leaves you with mixed feelings. Crawford's character is trapped by circumstances he never really controlled and from that point on, is forced to play the hand he's been dealt in order to save his own skin. He's not really a bad guy here, just an understandably cowardly one, one that doesn't want to lose everything he's worked for because he wasn't always the man he wanted to be. It's a pretty intriguing quality and one that I find compliments what I have since come to identify as the character type that Crawford constantly played.

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