6.7/10
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15 user 7 critic

The Sellout (1952)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 6 June 1952 (Australia)
During the 1950s, a small-town newspaper editor and a state assistant attorney-general fight corrupt local officials from one rotten county.

Director:

Gerald Mayer

Writers:

Charles Palmer (screenplay), Matthew Rapf (story)
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Cast

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
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 June 1952 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

County Line See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$596,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$434,000, 31 December 1952

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$645,000, 31 December 1952
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Quotes

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 ...
See more »

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Crime Wave (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

You Can't Do Wrong Doing Right
(uncredited)
Written by Al Rinker and Floyd Huddleston
Performed by Ruth Martin
[Sung by the character Cleo Bethel portrayed by Audrey Totter]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Exceptional if a bit preachy.
26 March 2011 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

A reporter (Walter Pidgeon) happens to go through a county in the countryside. He is pulled over by the cops and arrested--though he'd done nothing. Then, in court, he sees that one by one, innocent folks are being shaken down by a corrupt sheriff and a corrupt judge. So, he makes it his crusade to bring down these crooks. As he digs, Pidgeon sees that this organized crime runs deeper--these 'cops' help run illegal gambling and various vice operations! When he appeals to people higher up in the state government, people are reticent to do anything--after all, that county brings votes to the state party machine. What can be done? Eventually, Pidgeon's articles have an effect and John Hodiak is sent from the state prosecutor's office to investigate. But his case isn't easy--as the reporter has just disappeared and so has his file on the corrupt county.

Some time later, Pidgeon returns home--briefly. There's not much of an explanation where he was, he's ready to move to Detroit and he has no interest in following up on his articles on corruption. It's obvious he's scared and has no intention of continuing. Can Hodiak change his mind? He sure needs Pidgeon's help with the investigation.

All in all, an exceptional film--tough, exciting and well-acted. My only quibble, and it's a little one, is that the film is a tad preachy at the end. Still, it's a nice film--well worth seeing--especially since the cast was so capable. In addition to Hodiak and Pidgeon, the film has support from Audrey Totter (who plays a great dame), Thomas Gomez (who's almost always the heavy), Everett Sloan, Cameron Mitchell, Whit Bissell, Karl Malden and Frank Cady (Sam Drucker from "Green Acres")--a very impressive list. It was also cool seeing Burt Mustin playing the corrupt judge--the sort of role you wouldn't expect from this fun character actor.


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