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Exclusive (1937)

Approved | | Action, Crime, Drama | 6 August 1937 (USA)
Two newspapers are pitted against each other. One owned by gangster Charles Gillette (Lloyd Nolan), the other by Ralph Houston (Fred MacMurray).


Alexander Hall


Jack Moffitt (screenplay) (as John C. Moffitt), Sidney Salkow (screenplay) | 2 more credits »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Fred MacMurray ... Ralph Houston
Frances Farmer ... Vina Swain
Charles Ruggles ... Tod Swain
Lloyd Nolan ... Charles Gillette
Fay Holden ... Mrs. Swain
Ralph Morgan ... Horace Mitchell
Edward H. Robins Edward H. Robins ... Col. Bogardus
Harlan Briggs ... Springer
Willard Robertson ... Mr. Franklin
Horace McMahon ... Beak McArdle
William Mansell William Mansell ... Formby
Steve Pendleton ... Elliott
Chester Clute ... Garner
Irving Bacon ... Dr. Boomgarten
Frank Bruno Frank Bruno ... Lollipop


The story of a big-city crusading newspaper editor, Tod Swain (Charles Ruggles),who placed principle and honest journalism ahead of life itself, only to have his own daughter, Vina Swain (Frances Farmer), undo his work. Charles Gillette (Lloyd Nolan, a corrupt politician, sets out to wreak vengeance on Swain's reformist newspaper, by establishing his own scandal-sheet, yellow journalism tabloid which he uses for muck-raking and blackmail purposes. He tries to lure Swain and his best reporter, Ralph Houston (Fred MacMurray) by offering them highly-tempting salaries, but they both remain loyal to the large circulation paper they had help build. When Vina, sweetheart of Houston, hears of this she is furious. Unable to understand the principles of her father and sweetheart, she accepts the position of investigative reporter on Gillette's paper. She soon becomes the newspaper sensation of the town. Gillette uses her ability to dig up, of the past, a story of one of the town's ... Written by -Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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SHE BLASTED A TOWN WIDE OPEN...to prove she could take love on her own terms! (original print ad) See more »


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One of over 700 Paramount productions, filmed between 1929-49, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. Its earliest documented telecasts took place in Omaha Friday 3 July 1959 on KETV (Channel 7), and in both Minneapolis on WTCN (Channel 11) and Indianapolis Monday 24 September 1959 where it launched the Paramount Film Library, introduced by the star of the film, Frances Farmer, who hosted a daily film series on WFBM (Channel 6). See more »


Featured in Frances Farmer Presents: Exclusive See more »

User Reviews

Rival Reporters
20 January 2019 | by lugonianSee all my reviews

EXCLUSIVE (Paramount, 1937), directed by Alexander Hall, hence its title, is a newspaper story taken from the play credited by John C. Moffitt. Following the pattern of journalism on film with such titles as "The Front Page" (1931), "The Final Edition" (1932), "Exclusive Story" (1936) or "Back in Circulation" (1937), among many others, EXCLUSIVE is one of those long unseen forgotten ones that's as good as it appears. Starring Fred MacMurray and Frances Farmer for the first and only time, it also features Charlie Ruggles, better known for comedy, being more serious here as an aging reporter sporting wire glasses and mustache. With the story belonging to MacMurray, co-stars Frances Farmer and Lloyd Nolan hold their own with their attention-grabbing performances.

Set in the town of Mountain City, reporters at The World newspaper await for the jury verdict of racketeer Charles Gillette (Lloyd Nolan). With the upset going for "not guilty," Ralph Houston (Fred MacMurray), the assistant city editor, knows the jury must have been bribed. Entering the newsroom along with his henchmen, the ever confident Gillette comes up with the news for Colonel Bogardus (Edward H. Robins), the newspaper owner; Horace Mitchell (Ralph Morgan) a candidate for mayor and Mr. Franklin (Willard Robertson), owner of the Franklin Department Store, of his forming a rival newspaper nearby called The Sentinel. Now the head man there, Gillette offers to hire The World employees, doubling their current salaries. Ralph turns down his offer of $200 a week because dirty or "yellow" journalism isn't in his league. Tod Swain (Charles Ruggles), his partner and close friend, however, is tempted with his $100 a week, but refuses as well. Ralph is engaged to Tod's daughter, Vina (Frances Farmer), who has just quit her present job. When she learns of Ralph's refusal for the additional money so they can get married, she becomes upset. Learning from her father of Ralph secretly put his own money for her college education, Vina decides to pay him back by working for Gillette at top salary. However, Ralph disapproves of Vina's association with Gillette as her boss. An argument ensues forcing Vina to call off their engagement. Vina becomes an exceptional reporter doing undercover work, exposing stories on Gillette's enemies. On in particular being Horace Mitchell, whose past has been exposed that ruins his chances campaigning for mayor. Following Mitchell's confrontation with Vina, she finds herself unable to go through with her tabloid reporting, but Gillette talks her out of it. Eventually Vina gets too deep with her story material on defective elevators from the Franklin Departmnent Store that she gets sued for libel. To prove her story true, Beak McArdel (Horace MacMahon), one of Gillette's henchmen, fixes an elevator to fall, injuring numerous passengers, including Ralph. Afraid of being exposed, Gillette sends Vina on an out of town assignment with Beak as her "bodyguard." Realizing what truly happening, Tod finds Vina's life could be in danger.

Featured in the supporting cast are: Fay Holden (Mrs. Effie Swain); Harlan Briggs (Springer); Chester Clute (Garner, a bill collector for the Strand Credit Company); and Irving Bacon (Doctor Boomgarten). Look fast for Billy Lee (Billy McArdel) and Libby Taylor (The Maid) in smaller roles. Charlie Ruggles stands out among the others as a drunken, middle-aged reporter. Aside from getting a black eye from one of the thugs early in the story, he gets his moment of glory demonstrating to the equally drunken Ralph (MacMurray) whether or not the light bulb inside the refrigerator remains on after closing the door by having Ralph sit inside the refrigerator to find out. This plays better than it reads, yet humorous scenes such as this lighten the tension, but often unbalances the dramatic texture of the story. Fay Holden, better known as Emily Hardy in the "Andy Hardy" family series for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, performs familiar duties as both wife and mother to Ruggles and Farmer's characters. Lloyd Nolan, who can play good guys or comedic detectives in believable manner, demonstrates his ability here as the villain who would stop at nothing to ruin his enemies, even by using the girlfriend of a rival reporter who refuses to be intimidated by him. Though Farmer's character is both tempermental and naive, her Vina, eager to better herself, does so for the wrong reasons working for a racketeer to earn some easy money. By not doing this, however, there would be no story with added suspense.

Not regularly broadcast on commercial television in decades, and unseen on New York City television since it's final broadcast in 1972 on WPIX, Channel 11, EXCLUSIVE, happens to be one of the finer newspaper dramas to come out in the 1930s, and one that should still be entertaining for its fine acting, good story, and fast-pace direction during its 78 minutes. -30- (***).

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Release Date:

6 August 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Exklusiv See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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