The publisher of a celebrity gossip tabloid sets out to destroy an aging actor, whose career is foundering and who is also facing a battle with alcoholism.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Harold Fallen
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Meg North
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Helen Grant
...
Ben Rowan
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Simon McKey
Bobby Di Cicco ...
Platte (as Bobby DiCicco)
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Paul Brown
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Missus Hart
...
(as Doug Rowe)
Jim Baker ...
(as Jim B. Baker)
Lois De Banzie ...
Mrs. Skye (as Lois de Banzie)
...
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Storyline

The publisher of a celebrity gossip tabloid sets out to destroy an aging actor, whose career is foundering and who is also facing a battle with alcoholism.

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Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements, brief sensuality and mild language | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

21 January 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Devil's Bed  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

As Helen crosses the street to pick up her kid from school, the same man in a light-colored suit and briefcase walks past the school twice. See more »

Connections

Remake of Scandal Sheet (1952) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Return of Mephisto
30 September 2007 | by (Spain) – See all my reviews

There is what I think an important point to be made about this TV movie which has not been touched on in any of the few comments made so far. It is that the superb character actor Burt Lancaster resumes here in 1985 the rôle of the similar character he played in "The Sweet Smell of Success", so many years before in 1957. As can only be expected with a low budget TV film, it is no artistic masterpiece like the earlier work, but all the same, well worth seeing.

The all-powerful gossip columnist of the first film, J.J.Hunsecker and Fallen,the editor of the yellowest of gossip magazines in this one, are both manipulative, calculating, and ruthless, but the first rôle was shown as being far more complex, so that Lancaster would have been able to play the more straightforward second rôle standing on his head, as they say.

Lancaster, as J.J.Hunsecker, is not only a megalomaniac, who bullies politicians and forces the ambitious Tony Curtis, his minion and errand boy, to commit despicable acts of betrayal and deceit and finally arranges for him to be savagely beaten by the police and thrown into clink, but he also appears to be a psychopath, with an unpleasantly more than brotherly love for his young sister, always ready to commit a crime at one remove to achieve his sinister ends.

On the other hand,Lancaster as Harold Fallen in "Scandal Sheet", is very "correct", quite unemotional, impassive, and not even contemptuous or verbally disrespectful as he schemes and uses his bag of dirty tricks single-mindedly to obtain, through his equally unscrupulously staff, who hate one another and probably him too, some new eye-catching story such as an interview with the late Grace Kelly by a self-styled spiritual medium on a Californian beach, a story about siamese twins who died on being separated but were "stuck back together" again by one unspeakable male reporter in the same coffin to make a good photo, or the trials and tribulations of an ex-alcoholic and ailing filmstar trying with the aid of his loving wife to make a come-back.

Fallen is always soft-spoken, calm and cautious as he goes about trying to get his filthy rag off the presses. He is a malignant force rather than a personality, who does what he feels he has to do, deploying others to do the actual dirty work, so that he seems hardly to be more blameworthy than a spitting cobra blinding its enemies or prey with its venom - that is just the nature of the beast. This character is also reminiscent of Mephistpheles, emissary of Lucifer the arch devil, whether in the "Faust" of Goethe or the "Doctor Faustus" of Marlowe: calm, logical, seducing with "offers you can't refuse", all without ever raising his voice, his blood pressure or even his eyebrows.


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