6.7/10
372
14 user 7 critic

The Sellout (1952)

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:

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

Final film of Richard Cramer, whose career started back in the days of silent films. See more »

Quotes

Chick Johnson: Buck is everybody around here chicken?
Capt. Buck Maxwell: You ever been scared of losing your job? Having your little store maybe burned out? or your truck wrecked? or getting beat up? Maybe crippled or lying around on a Phony Rap? Or maybe having your wife bothered or even your kids?
Chick Johnson: Scared or Bought?
Capt. Buck Maxwell: Bought guys talk slick. These guys talk sore. Here. You ever noticed this thing? These guys have all been called in for the Treatment.
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

Losing Momentum
27 July 2009 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

1951, the Kefauver congressional committee on organized crime and corruption is making headlines, and MGM under new head Dore Schary is trying to make that famously big-budget studio relevant to news of the day. The trouble is that the so-called Tiffany of studios just doesn't have the same feel for gritty material as a Warner Bros. or an RKO. Too bad this film doesn't sustain the harrowing feel of the first 15 minutes, when prominent editor Allridge (Pidgeon) is brutalized after a minor traffic infraction by corrupt Sheriff Burke (Gomez). Allridge's ordeal has the feel of a "sudden nightmare" to it, as if he's been abruptly forced into a savage new world where the old civilized rules no longer apply. It's a backwater county run by the sheriff like a private fiefdom and a jailhouse where inmates rule once the cell door slams shut. I like the way we're shown the difficulties state prosecutor Johnson (Hodiak) encounters in trying to rid the county of Burke and his outlaw regime.

Still and all, the longer the movie lasts, the more momentum it loses, ending with a final 20 minutes of plodding courtroom procedure. There's still some suspense in the air (why did Allridge skip town), but the initial energy has long since dissipated. At least part of the problem lies with uninspired direction that can't sustain the early sense of tension and evil. Too bad noir maestros like Phil Karlson or Anthony Mann weren't running the show. Those reviewers contrasting this film with Karlson's similar Phenix City Story are right on target. Nonetheless, the movie does have its moments, along with a vibrant turn from the under- rated Audrey Totter who never seemed to get the recognition her talent deserved.


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