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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Slander (1957)

A sleazy scandal tabloid run by a ruthless publisher (Steve Cochran) plans to publish a story about a secret in the past of the puppeteer star (Van Johnson) of a children's television show. As a teenager, he stabbed and robbed a store owner and went to prison for four years. The publisher promises not to publish the story if the puppeteer spills the goods on a famous film actress. He tries to do the right thing but tragedy comes to everyone involved. While a minor B&W effort from the MGM factory, the film packs a punch and sadly is more timely than ever. Today, with social media, supermarket rags and tabloid TV's insatiable appetite for dirt on celebrities, nothing has changed. It's worse than ever and what's even more terrible is that somehow it is now a part of our culture and we feed on it. It doesn't matter who it hurts as long as it sells and gives us our daily dose of scandal. To the film's credit, it pulls no punches and there's no happy ending ... everybody loses. I don't want to oversell it but it's a film that resonates. Directed by Roy Rowland. With Ann Blyth as Johnson's wife, Harold J. Stone, Richard Eyer (7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD), Lurene Tuttle and in a strong performance, Marjorie Rambeau as Cochran's mother.

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