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A very good movie about The Day, a newspaper publishing its last
editions, and its aggressive attack on a known mobster. Humphrey Bogart
does an excellent job as the editor, and Ethel Barrymore gives a
wonderful, regal performance as the widow of the publisher, whose
daughters are now demanding that the paper be sold to a competitor.
The film brings up, a mere 53 years ago, issues that are relevant today - the tabloids versus real, factual news, and the meaning of a free press. These debates continue today, but unfortunately, it seems that the tabloid type of journalism is winning. As for a free press - our press might be freer than many, but it isn't entirely free. As anyone who lost money in the great savings and loan scandal can tell you, important stories disappear from the front pages all the time.
Bogart's strong performance is the engine that keeps this film going, and there's a nice performance by Kim Hunter as his ex-wife. Deadline USA reminds us of the good old days, when you could believe what you read in the New York Times.
Deadline - U.S.A. has Humphrey Bogart as the editor of a big city
newspaper that is in the process of being sold to a Rupert Murdoch like
chain that publishes scandal sheets. His paper is in the process at the
same time of doing an expose of notorious racketeer Martin Gabel.
And if that ain't enough for Bogey his wife Kim Hunter is splitting from him. It's the usual story, she can't stand having him married to her and the paper as well.
Growing up in New York in the Fifties we had several newspapers, each vying for a smaller readership. I remember we had the Times, News, Post, Herald Tribune, World-Telegram&Sun, Journal-American, and the Daily Mirror. Some of those you can see are the products of consolidation, there were more in the past. After a printer's strike in the sixties most of them went out of business.
The papers were competing for a shrinking share of readership. In the previous generation, radio competed with the print media and I grew up with that new phenomenon of television. Today we are seeing the effects of the Internet as the individual's primary source for news.
The gangster part of the plot gets started with the discovery of the body of a Virginia Hill like moll, the former mistress of Martin Gabel. While some of the scandal sheets cover the sensational aspects of the murder of a glamor girl, Bogey's paper does some serious investigative reporting and uncovers a lot of evidence. Their work also has consequences including the maiming of young reporter Warren Stevens.
In the meantime the heirs of the newspaper's original founder are looking to sell the paper. Opposing it is their mother, Ethel Barrymore and she has a fine part and is obviously the model for the widow publisher played by Nancy Marchand in Lou Grant. She has one classic scene with Humphrey Bogart where they commiserate over their mutual problems.
Deadline - U.S.A. is a realistic look at the life of a big city paper in days gone by. It's a gritty piece of nostalgia, as timely in its day as The Front Page was in the Twenties. Cast members like Paul Stewart, Jim Backus, and Ed Begley look and feel right at home at their jobs.
The film is recommended particularly for younger viewers who are glued to their computers and television to see how a newspaper functioned back in the day.
Bob Greene of the Chicago Tribune has called this the best journalism
ever made. He is absolutely right.
If you are interested in art movies, see Citizen Kane. If you are interested in screwball comedy, check out His Girl Friday. If it's history you're after, watch All the Presidents Men. If you want to see a classic journalism movie, rent one of the multiple versions of The Front Page.
But if you want to see a movie that actually shows you what life is like inside a newsroom, how reporters work together to get a story, and how "the story" is not always about the big expose but sometimes just about getting the little details right, this is your movie.
You can also watch Ron Howard's The Paper, but it's a pale imitation of this movie.
Unfortunately, this movie is not available on video or DVD. Keep an eye on American Movie Classics or one of the other cable channels, though, since it is regularly featured.
This wonderful 1952 film - it must have been approaching Humphrey's
last performance - wins on all levels.
It triumphs as an historical curiosity into how newspapers were published 50 years ago, down to the presses and the layouts and assignments, and also for its truly remarkable supporting cast, many of them, some famous, like Ethel Barrymore, Jim Backus and Ed Begley and some part of the Hollywood backdrops in score of movies.
Kim Hunter excels also as the Bogart ex. Martin Gabel eerily predicts the Tony Soprano performance of today as an underworld Kingpin shown with his perfect domestic arrangement.
The scene of the "wake" for the death of the newspaper is wonderful, and also some wonderful camera pans on continuous action in many scenes.
The script is well done and keeps the action moving along, some funny throwaway lines too, particularly in the car scene with the mobster and in his ex-wife's bedroom.
Also it is subtle and understated and not rampant with the 2X4's of some of today's instant-soup scripts. Do not miss this one, Bogie and Kim fans!!
8 out of 10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A really great movie for one of Bogart's last pictures. His character
is hard-nosed, but low key, a man who doesn't feel the need to prove
how tough he is. An excellent supporting cast includes such reliable
actors as Paul Stewart, Ed Begley,and Jim Backus as newspaper staff,
with Joe DeSantis as the weaselly crook in hiding. Ethel Barrymore is
superb as the widow of the paper's founder, watching as her obnoxious
daughters sell off the paper they care nothing about. Martin Gabel hits
just the right note as mob boss Rienzi, smiling and affable one minute,
snarling and growling threats seconds later.
One of the best scenes has Rienzi pick up Bogart's editor Hutchinson off the street and offer him a drink in his luxurious limousine. Bogart asks half seriously if he's being ' taken for a ride', and Rienzi claims he's not a gangster. Moments later, Rienzi loses his temper and smacks Hutchinson in the face. Hutchinson smiles that crooked Bogart grin and says, " That's more like it", telling Rienzi he's showing his true colors at last. The would be respectable businessman is nothing more than a gangster, after all.
This movie is both an antique, in the way it shows how big city dailies were still operating fifty years ago, and surprisingly up to date in its concern with how the public often doesn't really care about the news, and that a lot of what's packaged as news is just entertainment. Bogart's great speech at the hearing to determine the paper's future is a rouser, as he talks about the importance of a free press.
This movie deserves a wider audience on home video than its occasional cable TV showings. It's a great Bogart vehicle, and a fascinating story of the newspaper business, and just a fine picture in general.
This film was released (as I remember) the same year as The African Queen. I have always liked it more than the latter film. Richard Brooks's prior experience working on a newspaper gives it a genuine idea of what that kind of work is like. The performances of Bogart and Barrymore are very good. I think it's one of her very best. This movie deserves to be seen and appreciated more.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Deadline U.S.A" is the story of a newspaper facing extinction, though
it delves into a neat little crime story that graces page one
prominently during it's final days. What's interesting is that the
gangster drama doesn't involve Humphrey Bogart as a mobster or a law
man; he's the editor of 'The Day', a paper put on the selling block by
an owner family at the advice of their financial attorney. The family's
matriarch, portrayed by Ethel Barrymore eventually sees the light of
'Day' so to speak, as you know she will. Her conversation with Bogey
near the end of the film is a classic tribute to freedom of the press
and the role of newspapers as society's watchdog.
There's another side story going on as well, though it's not entirely necessary. Ed Hutcheson (Bogart) attempts to reconcile with ex-wife Nora (Kim Hunter), and though it appears he's hit a roadblock, winds up winning her back in the end. It's never made clear however what the turning point in the relationship was, since Nora was planning to remarry and abruptly changed her mind.
Classic film fans will enjoy seeing Ed Begley and Jim Backus in roles as newspapermen employed by 'The Day'. The mobster being investigated by the paper is portrayed by Martin Gabel. It was with a bit of discomfort watching Bogey's character get into the back seat of Gabel's car to 'go for a ride'. That scene could have gone either way, especially since editor Hutcheson felt compelled to crack wise with a goon who had murder included in his resume. As for the rough stuff, that was generally handled by Tomas Rienzi's main henchman Whitey, Joe Sawyer in an uncredited role, but a Warner Brothers mainstay nonetheless.
With the clock running out on the newspaper, and a judge siding with the sellers, Hutcheson gets to the finish line with his page one story with damning evidence of Rienzi's complicity in the death of his hush hush girlfriend and her brother. But the film ends so abruptly, there's no time to reflect on the bittersweet finale, not even a shot of Bogey and his ex getting back together for a feel good moment.
If you enjoyed this film, you might want to check out another lesser known Bogart movie titled "Two Against The World", it also goes by "One Fatal Hour". There he finds himself in another media forum running a radio station. Like "Deadline U.S.A." though, it may be difficult to find since neither has been commercially released. You'll have to keep your eyes peeled for a cable presentation, or source it from private collectors.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Have you noticed that almost all of Bogie's very BEST and most gritty
performances were when he played characters that were dedicated to a
noble cause? Rick Blain in CASABLANCA goes without saying... even tho
Rick doesn't admit until the end that he IS dedicated to ANY cause.
Charlie Allnut in THE African QUEEN once again became dedicated (at the insistence of Kate Hepburn) to the cause of sinking the Louisa.
Tho his cause was a twisted one born of psychosis, Lt. Commander Philip Francis Queeg was utterly committed to the cause of making the USS Caine acceptable to his impossible standard of perfection.
In his last film THE HARDER THEY FALL we again see the cynical, world weary Bogie who seems to be part of the problem, but who in the end lets his conscience and character win out; he does what he sees as RIGHT, no matter what the personal cost.
Even in his most underrated performances in the cheap, throwaway films like BATTLE CIRCUS, Bogie was at his hard boiled best as a dedicated MASH surgeon. Alan Alda probably took a lot of his character Hawkeye from Bogie's performance.
Playing the crusading newspaper editor Ed Hutchinson in DEADLINE USA Bogie gives us a tour de force performance, clothed in the utter, incorruptible purity of an honest man who is fighting naked evil in the form of corruption by a gang boss who controls a city's underworld... as well as some of it's most prominent public institutions.
In this one I'm strongly reminded of Jimmy Stewart's hard boiled, cynical reporter in CALL NORTHSIDE 777; Stewart was another actor who really got his teeth into a part where he was on a crusade of some sort.
Bogie hated phony movie tough guys, but oddly he came off as one in a lot of non-gangster roles; his demeanor was so imposing that without violence he could radiate strength and integrity... along with a world weary cynicism that made him seem all the more powerful. In DEADLINE USA we get it FULL STRENGTH and undiluted as he opposes Tomas Rienzi. Violence directed AT him makes him appear all the stronger; the sequence in Rienzi's car where Bogie gets struck across the face with the newspaper shows it; Hutchinson never even flinches at the blow. He only smiles and sneers "THAT'S the Rienzi I like to see".
Bogie's at his BEST in the final scene in the press room... there's BEAUTY in the utterly cynical contempt in his voice as he answers Rienzi's phone call with "Hello Baby..." . We KNOW that Bogie has all the cards in his hand now, and Rienzi's threats are meaningless when Bogie says "That's the PRESS, Baby, the PRESS... and there's NOTHING you can do about it. Nothing". That line makes us want to stand up and CHEER... no matter what may happen to Bogie, he's left us a gift. Right has triumphed.
This is one of his BEST films. It's a great example of why Humphrey Bogart is still, 50 years after his death, one of Hollywood's brightest shining stars.
`Stupidity isn't hereditary, you acquire it by yourself.' A great line from
one of those films you need to have made every so often-one that glorifies
the value of a free press. Bogart is the hard-hitting editor of a newspaper
on the brink of extinction. He has to decide whether to fight for the press
or his wife. Oh yes, his ex-wife tired of being a `bulldog' widow and is
ready to remarry. Will the daughter of the original-now
deceased-owner/publisher move on to a less printful husband? Will the
publisher's widow be able to halt the sale of her husband's paper? Will the
editor be able to bring down a local racketeer/thug/murderer?
No doubt this film will fade into obscurity to be viewed only by a few journalism/media majors doing a research paper on the portrayal of the press in film-assuming they go beyond All the President's Men. Too bad.
***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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