Haven D. Allridge is the editor-in-chief of the News-Intelligencer newspaper in St. Howard, a town where he and his family have lived all their lives. Peggy, Randy and Marcia Staunton - ...
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Haven D. Allridge is the editor-in-chief of the News-Intelligencer newspaper in St. Howard, a town where he and his family have lived all their lives. Peggy, Randy and Marcia Staunton - Haven's married daughter, her husband, and their child - now live about thirty miles away in Bridgewood County, which is adjacent to the St. Howard town limits. Randy is the county prosecutor. Haven learns first hand the corruption of the county sheriff, K.C. Burke, and his associates when, in an innocent enough move in picking up an acquaintance, Wilfred Jackson, at a bus stop located within the county and lightly bumping but not damaging a county sign with his car in the process, Haven and Wilfred are hauled into jail, where they spend the night before appearing before the county judge the next morning. Beaten up by prisoners with who they shared the cell, Wilfred, who has no money and pleads not guilty to the charge of soliciting rides on the highway, is held at a labor camp for trial in thirty days... Written by
Dealing with police corruption in a small American city, The Sellout isn't all that far away from films like The Phenix City Story or Kansas City Confidential. Walter Pidgeon plays a crusading journalist trying to get the goods on bent sheriff Thomas Gomez before Gomez gets the goods on him. The MGM cast is solid throughout, including John Hodiak as the reluctant out of town prosecutor, Karl Malden as the policeman assisting him, and good ol' Whit Bissell as a whistleblower. There's a small role for Audrey Totter--whose place in the credits implies a more significant part--and oily Everett Sloane is excellent as the misguided local lawyer. There's not much original here, but the film takes itself seriously and reminds the viewer of a time when it was possible for independent journalism to hang the bad guys out to dry.
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