During the 1950s, a small-town newspaper editor and a state assistant attorney-general fight corrupt local officials from one rotten county.


Gerald Mayer


Charles Palmer (screenplay), Matthew Rapf (story)





Cast overview, first billed only:
Walter Pidgeon ... Haven D. Allridge
John Hodiak ... Chick Johnson
Audrey Totter ... Cleo Bethel
Paula Raymond ... Peggy Stauton
Thomas Gomez ... Kellwin C. Burke
Cameron Mitchell ... Randy Stauton
Karl Malden ... Capt. Buck Maxwell
Everett Sloane ... Nelson S. Tarsson
Jonathan Cott ... Ned Grayton
Frank Cady ... Bennie Amboy
Hugh Sanders ... Judge Neeler
Griff Barnett ... J.R. Morrison
Burt Mustin ... Elk M. Ludens
Whit Bissell ... Wilfred Jackson
Roy Engel ... Sam F. Slaper


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 Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


How much does it take for a Woman to Sellout her Man?


Crime | Drama | Film-Noir


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Did You Know?


This film failed at the box office, resulting in a loss to MGM of $227,000 ($2.2M in 2018) according to studio records. See more »


At about the 06:30 mark the shadow of the boom mic can be seen on the wall to the left just as Allridge and Jackson are being put into the cell. See more »


Chick Johnson: In the Mute Parade of these frightened citizens. Weak men and Strong men who have become weak and Big Men who have become Little. All frightened. Their very silence testifies to that more strongly than shouted words... Their first protection was the law. Out of the domination of brutal and ruthless men, the law was turned against them. There is another protection: Public Opinion. Public Opinion finds its voice in the Press. The Free Press. Here, a courageous editor brought his newspaper to the ...
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Crazy Credits

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 »


Referenced in Crime Wave (1985) See more »


You Can't Do Wrong Doing Right
Written by Al Rinker and Floyd Huddleston
Performed by Ruth Martin
[Sung by the character Cleo Bethel portrayed by Audrey Totter]
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User Reviews

Conflicts of Interest
22 March 2006 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

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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Release Date:

6 June 1952 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

County Line See more »


Box Office


$596,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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