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
Buck is everybody around here chicken?
Capt. Buck Maxwell:
You ever been scared of losing your job? Having your little store maybe burned out? or your truck wrecked? or getting beat up? Maybe crippled or lying around on a Phony Rap? Or maybe having your wife bothered or even your kids?
Scared or Bought?
Capt. Buck Maxwell:
Bought guys talk slick. These guys talk sore. Here. You ever noticed this thing? These guys have all been called in for the Treatment.
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The opening credits all appear on newspapers which have just been dumped from a truck and are ready for delivery. The title appears as if it were a newspaper headline. See more »
The Sellout is a good B picture crime drama out of MGM using a solid heaping helping of their B picture contract players.
Newspaper editor Walter Pigeon and a friend Whit Bissell get caught up in a speedtrap in the rural part of the county they reside in. Given the Code was in place in 1951, I'm sure they would have been brutalized far more graphically in the jail of Thomas Gomez the corrupt sheriff of the county. Still and all it's enough to fill Pigeon with a firm resolve to get Gomez. Even without the help of local prosecutor Cameron Mitchell who is Pigeon's son-in-law.
But a crusading special prosecutor from the State Attorney General and an honest city cop played by John Hodiak and Karl Malden respectively get into the picture due to Pigeon's hard hitting articles. There's far more than a speedtrap involved. Then Pigeon's ardor suddenly cools.
I think that anyone who's seen a lot of movies can figure the ending out from here. But these are a good group of some of the best players around. One other reviewer mentioned that Audrey Totter's role as a woman of easy virtue is left up in the air. I would guess the editors had more to do with it than anything else.
Thomas Gomez delivers the best performance in the film. He's a viciously evil man and he drives his corrupt lawyer Everett Sloane crazy. Sloane tries very hard to fix things without violence or crudity. But Gomez just can't be controlled.
It's a good film, very much like The Phoenix City Story that would come along a few years later.
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