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Joseph L. Mankiewicz
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Ed Hutcheson, tough editor of the New York 'Day', finds that the late owner's heirs are selling the crusading paper to a strictly commercial rival. At first he sees impending unemployment as an opportunity to win back his estranged wife Nora. But when a reporter, pursuing a lead on racketeer Rienzi, is badly beaten, Hutcheson is stung into a full fledged crusade against the gangster, hoping Rienzi can be tied to a woman's murder...in the 3 issues before the end of 'The Day.' Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
***SPOILER ALERT*** Solid newspaper drama that has a two tier storyline involving the hard hitting no nonsense managing editor Ed Hutcheson, Humphrey Bogart, of the big city newspaper "The Day". Hutcheson is involved in a number of crisis in the 87 minute film including his wife Nora, Kim Hunter, leaving him for another man her boss at the advertising agency Lewis Shaefer, Phillip Terry, with his newspaper about to be bought up with it's 1,500 employees.
Hutcheson himself is also giving the pink slip and at the same time, with time running out, tries to get the goods on big time mobster Thomas Rienzi, Martin Gable. Rienzi had his estranged girlfriend former fashion model Sally Schmidt, Ann McCrea, murdered as well as have his thugs work over Hutcheson's star reporter George Borrows, Warren Stevens, who was about to break to case wide open.
Knowing that there's little or no chance to save his newspaper "The Day" editor Hutcheson takes on a local murder case as the papers last headline story that in the end leads straight to city Mafiso chief Thomas Rienzi. Sally Schmidt, known as Bessie Gardner, had a falling out with her hoodlum boyfriend and was later found floating in the river. Sally had secretly put some $200,000.00 of Rienzi's hot money away in a bank safe deposit box that he was to use in fixing the city and state elections.
Given the story Day reporter George Borrows ends up badly beaten by the Rienzi Mob which has Hutcheson go all out to get the mob chief at the expense of his own life and safety. With the help of a number of contacts in the State Boxing Commission Hutcheson gets to smoke out Sally's brother Herman, Joe de Santis,who unwittingly set poor Sally up for a mob hit. Rienzi in an effort to shut Herman up has a number of his hoods impersonate policemen as they kidnap Herman right out of the Day editor room and have him gunned down, and falling to his death on the news printing machines, as he tried to escape.
With nothing on Thomas Rienzi Hutcheson is about to close the paper after the last and final edition but it's then when elderly Mrs. Schmidt, Kasia Orzazewski, Sally and Herman's mom shows up at the Day offices with enough evidence, that Sally secretly left her, to put the grinning and feeling secure Thomas Rienzi and his gang away for the rest of their lives.
One of Humphrey Bogart's most underrated and forgotten films. "Deadline USA" is by far one, if not, the best motion picture about not only the newspaper business but free speech ever to come out of Hollywood in the last 50 or so years. We see in the film how the news is handled, by trying to ascertain and then confirm it, by a top and respected city daily. it was very sad to see ****SPOILER***that in the end Hutcheson lost his battle to keep "The Day" from going under by it being swallowed up by it's competition the tabloid newspaper "The Standard". Hutchenson getting the big mob boss Thomas Rienzi put out of action and behind bars was more then worth his courageous but losing effort.
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