Cast & Crew
Lewis D. Collins
The sudden death of famous opera diva Linda Morgan leaves Stephen Brewster, owner of Brewster Cosmetics, without a celebrity spokesperson. While Laura Crandall, president of the House of Crandall, a rival firm, vacations in Europe, her callous advertising manager, Fred Bowman, persuades her reluctant general manager, George Harley, to launch a bold campaign built on the rumor that Linda was poisoned by using Brewster cosmetics. As sales plummet, Stephen approaches the United States District Attorney with charges of slander. After his company is sent into receivership, the embittered Stephen embarks upon revenge. Under the assumed name of Stephen James, he creates the Acme Advertising Agency in Kansas City, the home of the House of Crandall. Accompanied by his assistant, Red Barrett, Stephen wins the account of the Higgins Chemical Company, Crandall's biggest rival. With a small group of salesmen, Stephen spreads the rumor that Crandall's cosmetics contain harmful lead. When Laura returns from Europe to find her firm's sales sagging because of the rumors, both George and Fred neglect to inform her of the whisper campaign they initiated against Brewster. Learning of the rumors spreading against her firm, Laura infiltrates Stephen's company as an office manager. In Stephen's office, she installs a dictaphone recording device just as Stephen launches other smear campaigns against an airline and steamship company. Puzzled by Stephen's philanthropic assitance to an orphanage, Laura reveals her true identity to him, and in turn, Stephen divulges how her firm had ruined his company. Returning to her office, Laura fires Fred and George and sends Stephen the incriminating dictaphone record. Now repentant, Stephen tries to check the rumors his company had been spreading that Kimball milk carries tuberculosis, but the racketeers fronting the campaign shoot Stephen as he attempts to quell a mob ransacking one of Kimball's stores. Stephen then makes a complete confession while recuperating in jail. After he instructs Red to help Laura rebuild her company, Stephen is found guilty of unfair trade practices and is sentenced to three years in prison. As he is nearing the end of his term, Stephen learns from Smitty, his cellmate, of a prison break that might injure innocent visitors. Failing to dissuade Smitty from participating, Stephen starts a rumor that the warden knows about the break, which results in the inmates disarming themselves and abandoning their plans. Learning of his good deed, the wardon pardons Stephen, who then joins Laura in a business and matrimonial partnership.
Lewis D. Collins
The working titles of this picture were Wreckage and Whispering Campaign. Onscreen credits differ from the copyright records in regard to the character played by Addison Richards; the onscreen credits list him as "Red Barrett," whereas the copyright records list him as "Red Graham." Modern sources add Chill Wills to the cast.