The photo of Johnny in handcuffs shown at the beginning of the film differs from the scene where the photo was taken. The lights in the building are off in the photo but on in the scene, the number of people standing behind Johnny are different, and the man in the plaid shirt standing next to the policeman in the photo is not standing next to him in the scene. See more »
Sitting in a bar all by himself sports writer Pete Farreday, John Ireland,is approached by a reporter, Johnny Phillips, with a photo of a number of college students arrested for being involved in a mob-fix of basketball games that they played in. Asking at first for the reporter to please not print that photo after Pete ripped it up, when the reporter refused, Pete let him have it with a left to the jaw.
Pete had a very personal interest in the story that the reporter was talking about and as the movie goes into flashback and we in the audience get to see what happened to get Pete so emotional about it. Johnny Long, Marshall Thompson, is a good student and even better basketball player on the Central High School team. Wanting to go to a college close to where he lived with his kid brother Mickey, Bobby Hyatt, who Johnny was supporting, as well as himself. At his job as a valet at the Cresthaven Country Club Johnny turned down a number of basketball scholarships from colleges out of the area.
Pete got to know Johny well and was also a good friend of the local college ,State College, basketball coach Nat Becker, Walter Sande, who got Johnny in the college where he quickly became the star player and was leading the State College basketball team to the local as well as country-wide championship. While Johnny was working at the Cresthaven Club he met mob bookie Mike Taft ,William Bishop, who was interested in Johnny not for his hard work and ethics on and off the basketball court but for what he Johnny could do for him and the mob that he works with. Taft was interested in making a lot of cash for the mob and himself by throwing Johnny a few scraps for playing along with him, in shaving points.
A "See it now straight from the headlines" type movie that was obviously made to capitalize on the CCNY, among other, college point-shaving scandal that rocked the world of college sports back in the early 1950's. With John Ireland playing a hard hitting, with his fists as well as his typewriter keys, sports columnist who's for college athletes getting compensated by their schools in order to counter-balance the temptations that they are faced with, like Johnny, by mobsters like Mike Taft.
Made an impact back then,1951,on the public but watching the movie now it's no big deal compared to the corruption and abuse in the sports world, both professional and college, that we see now. We see at first Johnny strongly rejecting cash from Taft for purposely missing points in games that he and the mob are betting on. Later, when Johnnies financial troubles become unbearable he gives in to mobsters and thus destroys a promising career in both college and professional basketball.
Johnny also, by being busted, loses his girl who he was engaged to marry Pat, Vanessa Brown, and that ironically was the reason that he was busted in the first place. Johnny foolishly paid $1,000.00 in cash, that he got from Taft, for an engagement ring for Pat giving a false name but having the right initials carved into the ring. Johnny being a big college star was easily recognized by the Jewelry salesman, Lester Shape, who got in touch with the press and thus Johnnies fate was sealed. In the end Johnny Long learned the hard way what he never would learn in college. That when you get in with "The Mob" there's no way of getting out except in a pine box or prison cell.
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