Both "Scandal for Sale" and "Five Star Final" were based on the 1920s' New York Evening Graphic, this one from a novel by the first editor, 5*Final from a play by his successor. The paper's Broadway gossip columnist Walter Winchell inspired "Blessed Event" and more. See more »
Charles Bickford plays a guy who just loves to wallow in filth and depravity!
"Scandal for Sale" is a very Pre-Code sort of film, as there's no way they could have made a film this vivid and nasty in its depiction of the newspapers after the tough Production Code was enacted in mid- 1934. Because of the studios' willingness to get down and dirty, this film and "Five Star Final" are more timeless than many later films...and they certainly grab your attention.
When the film begins, there is a very florid murder in which a woman beats two folks to death with a hammer! You don't see it happen but you sure hear the screaming, sound effects and blood! Soon, a man arrives and pretends to be the investigating detective...and the cop watching the scene lets him into the room where the killing just happened. However, this man is actually a sleazy reporter and soon secrets the killer out of the place in order to make headlines and make her a star! The scene where they have her posing with the murder weapon is both shocking and darkly comic. Such is your introduction to the muck- raking journalism championed by Jerry (Charles Bickford). While this latest stunt gets him tossed off the paper, soon he lands on his feet as another local paper is more than welcome to lower their standards for increased profits!
Throughout all this film, you slowly see Jerry lose more and more of what was decent about him. His wife, who once adored him, is reduced to indifference and eventually hatred because of Jerry's actions on the job and inaction at home. In other words, he's seldom home and when he is, he isn't mentally at home. Throughout all this, his best pal and co-worker, Waddy (Pat O'Brien), is by his side...and secretly wishing Jerry's wife had chosen him instead. What's next? See the film!
The script is exciting and awful in a way that keeps your attention. My only regret is that the ending seemed very abrupt and didn't fit into who Jerry was....otherwise I might have even given the film an 8.
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