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With three days before his paper folds, a crusading editor tries to expose a vicious gangster.
On the day that reputed gangster Tomas Rienzi testifies before a New York state Senate committee that he has no criminal ties, the staff of The Day , a newspaper that has been following the Rienzi case closely, learns that the paper is to be sold. The Day 's late founder, John Garrison, was close friends with the paper's managing editor, Ed Hutcheson, and Ed is disappointed that Garrison's widow Margaret has capitulated to her greedy daughters' demand to sell. Ed continues laying out that evening's edition, however, and refuses to print titillating photographs of an unidentified woman who was found drowned wearing only a mink coat. Ed does allow reporter George Burrows to continue investigating Rienzi, even though the committee dropped the charges against him due to lack of evidence. Ed then meets with Margaret, her daughters--Katherine Garrison Geary and Alice Garrison Courtney--and their lawyers, who inform him that rival newspaper publisher Lawrence White is buying The Day . Ed is infuriated, as he deplores White's lack of integrity, and tells Margaret that she should prevent the sale because White is buying The Day merely to kill it. The lawyers warn Ed that a hearing to approve the sale will be held the following day regardless of his opinion. In the newsroom, Ed tells the staff about the proceedings, and that night, everyone gathers at a "wake" for The Day . Ed bitterly muses that if he had employed the same yellow journalism tactics as White's Standard , which ran a front-page photograph of the dead woman, the paper would have had a larger circulation. Drunk, Ed then goes to his ex-wife Nora's apartment, where Nora, who loves Ed but divorced him because of his all-encompassing devotion to the newspaper, puts him to bed. The next morning, Ed learns that George has been brutally beaten by Rienzi's goons. Determined to prove Rienzi's complicity, Ed orders his staff to begin an in-depth investigation of Rienzi's life, then dictates a scathing editorial against Rienzi. Hoping to convince her to re-marry him, Ed meets with Nora, but is interrupted by reporter Mrs. Willdebrandt, who has discovered that the dead woman's name is Bessie Schmidt. Ed and his team soon discover that, using the alias Sally Gardiner, Bessie was Rienzi's mistress, and that Rienzi engineered the appointment of Bessie's brother Herman to the state boxing commission. Ed then receives word that Bessie had recently bought $40,000 in government bonds, while sportswriter Harry Thompson finds a fearful Herman in hiding. As Harry is promising Herman protection, Ed attends the court hearing at which Judge McKay agrees to uphold the sale of the paper. Although Margaret protests, stating that she has changed her mind, Alice and Kitty are majority shareholders, and so Margaret promises to pay more than White has offered. The judge orders the matter deferred, and when Ed leaves the courthouse, he is confronted by Rienzi. Ed refuses the gangster's attempt to bribe him, but as they drive up to the newspaper building, Rienzi sees Herman entering. Ed offers to help Herman leave the country if he testifies against Rienzi, and Herman admits that Rienzi gave $200,000, which he had received for fixing an election, to Bessie for safekeeping. Bessie used $40,000 to buy the bonds, then hid the rest in a safe-deposit box and, fearing for her life, secretly moved to a hotel. Herman confesses that, pressured by Rienzi, he led Rienzi's henchmen to Bessie, then left her apartment when the goons began beating her. The conference is interrupted by Margaret, who tells Ed that because Rienzi has filed a libel suit against the paper, Judge McKay will be handing down his final ruling later that evening. While Ed is out of the room, three of Rienzi's henchmen, disguised as policemen, "arrest" Herman before he can sign his statement. Herman attempts to escape but plunges to his death from a catwalk over the printing press. The Day 's first evening edition recounts Herman's death, and Rienzi chews out Whitey for resorting to public violence, then orders him to find Bessie's mother. Meanwhile, Ed bemoans losing the story, but Margaret comforts him, telling him that he put up a good fight, and should not blame Nora for refusing to be a "paper widow." Ed and Margaret then go to court, where Ed protests that The Day has always been a champion for truth and justice. Although Judge McKay agrees, he upholds the contract, and orders that White be given control of the paper the following day. Upon his return to the office, Ed is met by Mrs. Schmidt, who, trusting The Day 's integrity, has brought him Bessie's diary and the money she was holding for Rienzi. Mrs. Schmidt bravely offers to testify against the gangster, and although Rienzi calls Ed to threaten him with death if he runs the story, Ed orders the presses to roll. With Nora by his side, Ed reads the headline accusing Rienzi of Bessie's murder, then watches as The Day 's neon sign is dimmed forever.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||New York opening: 14 Mar 1952; Los Angeles opening: 25 Apr 1952|
|Release Date:||1952||Production Date:||
|Color/B&W:||Black and White||Distributions Co:||Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.|
|Sound:||Mono||Production Co:||Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.|
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User Ratings & Review
One of my Favorites
I caught this several years ago on TCM on a rainy Sunday afternoon and I now check almost every month to see when it will be on again. I think this is one...
Brian Morris 2015-04-08
This is one of my all-time favorite movies, thus having studied journalism and working as a summer student at a local newspaper. I did however notice a few...
Don't stop the presses
Ric Christensen 2013-09-17
I have only been fortunate enough to view snippets of this movie via youTube, which is a shame because it is obviously one that needs to see the light of...