An ambitious/tough-talking editor, Mark Chapman (Broderick Crawford), meets the wife he abandoned 20+ yrs ago at a “Lonely Hearts Club” ball sponsored by his NYC newspaper. Charlotte Grant (Rosemary DeCamp), threatens to expose him as a wife-deserter and impostor (he changed his name). In a fit of rage, he pushes and accidentally kills her! When Mrs. Grant’s body is found, Chapman assigns his young protégé reporter, Steve McCleary (John Derek), to the story. It could be a juicy follow-up story to the ball and raise circulation. Julie Allison (Donna Reed), a features writer/Steve’s girlfriend, gets a phone call which could crack the case.
This film noir is based on the 1944 novel, The Dark Page, by Samuel Fuller. The wise-cracking photographer, Biddle, is played by Harry Morgan (who gained fame in the TV show M.A.S.H.) Less than a year ago, Chapman was brought on board to save the paper, as it was losing money. Now, some of the shareholders don’t approve of the scandalous stories which he chooses to cover, though the paper is nearing a circulation of 750,000. Julie can barely hide her disdain for Chapman; she’s disappointed that Steve looks up to him. Derek is (as expected) uber-handsome w/ long lashes and thick dark hair; his character makes some sexist comments (reflecting the era). A few viewers were a bit shocked that Reed (who does a fine job) smokes in this movie- LOL!
Top notch suspense as Crawford gambles that he can keep his cool and get away with it, even as the walls close in and the odds look worse and worse. Crawford is at his no-nonsense, take no prisoners, mince-no-words best…
Reed plays a woman who is like the voice of conscience in the movie–always appalled at Crawford’s methods and making it clear that she wants no part of this degradation of the paper.
-Excerpts from IMDB reviews