Headline Hunters


1h 10m 1955

Film Details

Also Known As
Deadline Alley
Release Date
Sep 29, 1955
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 2 Sep 1955
Production Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 10m
Film Length
6,301ft

Synopsis

Dave Flynn, having recently graduated from the state school of journalism with a six-month scholarship to work at the Daily Enquirer , reports to managing editor Paul Strout, who assigns him a story about the city's liquor commissioner, Frank Hoffman. Hoffman, who has received a death threat and is under police protection at his home, talks briefly with Dave, but as Hoffman leaves his house in his car, it explodes, killing him. Dave then reports to hard-drinking, veteran reporter Hugh "Woody" Woodruff, who is very cynical about the corruption in the city, but tells Dave that they can work together. Woody is courting Laura Stewart, who works for district attorney Harvey S. Kevin, who is running for re-election, and has received a number of story leads from her. A few days later, when Dave encounters Laura at a Mexican restaurant where she is waiting for Woody, she tells him that, due to the election, Kevin is anxious to convict someone for the Hoffman killing. She also confides to Dave that Woody used to be a much better reporter but is now very disgruntled and full of self-pity. When Woody arrives, Dave tells him that he has discovered that Hoffman had been taking bribes to provide liquor licenses. Spitefully, Woody sets Dave up with a phony story about the mayor being sued for divorce, and Dave is fired by Strout. When Dave confronts him, Woody says that he will get Dave his job back, but Dave chooses not to be indebted to him and looks for work on other newspapers. He soon finds that he has been "blackballed," but eventually is hired at The Legal Ledger and is assigned to check court activities. Dave is present when the district attorney sends over Damasio Reyes to be arraigned for the Hoffman murder. Reyes tells the judge, in Spanish, that he does not understand English, that he is from Mexico and has only been in the U.S. for three days. When told by the judge to ask Reyes how he pleads, Rafael Garcia, an interpreter assigned by Kevin, instead asks Reyes from which state he comes, but informs the judge that Reyes says that he pleads guilty. Dave, a fluent Spanish speaker, takes notes on all this and reports to Ledger publisher Harry Bradley that Reyes thought that he was in a deportation hearing and is obviously being framed for the Hoffman killing. Bradley feels, however, that without another witness, he could become involved in a libel suit and declines to print Dave's story. Although Dave tries to interest other newspapers, all the editors refuse to listen to him and print the "official" version. Dave tries to give the story to Woody, who declines it, thinking that Dave is trying to set him up to get revenge, but reveals that he got Dave the job with Bradley. Nonetheless, Dave accuses Woody of no longer being interested in reporting on issues affecting "the little guy." After Woody slugs him, Dave informs him that he used to be his hero but is no more. Later, after he falls out with Laura, Woody gets drunk and wakes up in Strout's office. Strout sobers him up, after which he goes to apologize to Laura and seek her help with information on the Reyes case. Laura also arranges a reconciliation between Woody and Dave, and they begin to work together on the Reyes story. Woody thinks that Hoffman may have been splitting payoffs with Kevin, and he, Dave and Laura manage to locate interpreter Garcia, who is working as a bartender. Dave tells him that he will testify that he lied in court and suggests to him that he may be murdered in order to silence him. As Garcia closes up the bar, two of Kevin's hoods show up and a brawl ensues, during which Garcia is shot in the shoulder. However, Woody and Dave overpower the thugs and, when the police arrive, Garcia agrees to confess. Woody phones in the story to Strout, giving the byline to Dave. Later, Woody and Laura become engaged and, as another scholarship winner arrives, Dave is given a permanent job at the Examiner .

Film Details

Also Known As
Deadline Alley
Release Date
Sep 29, 1955
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 2 Sep 1955
Production Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 10m
Film Length
6,301ft

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

This film's working title was Deadline Alley. Sound man Melvin M. Melcalfe, Sr.'s onscreen credit erroneously reads "Melcalfe, Jr." The film was a remake of the 1940 Republic film Behind the News (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40).