Steve Cochran plays the slick, debonair owner of a notorious gossip magazine who is anxious to break a big scandal to reverse a recent decline in sales. He zeroes in on children's ...
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Marsha Mitchell, a traveling dress model, stops in a southern town to see her sister who has married a Ku Klux Klansman. Marsha sees the KKK commit a murder and helps District Attorney Burt Rainey in bringing the criminals to justice.
Steve Cochran plays the slick, debonair owner of a notorious gossip magazine who is anxious to break a big scandal to reverse a recent decline in sales. He zeroes in on children's entertainer Van Johnson, a decent, stand-up guy who nonetheless has a secret in his past which would most likely end his suddenly flourishing television career if found out. Johnson can save himself and his wife Ann Blyth and son from disrepute if he "trades" Cochran damaging information he has about a popular movie actress he knew while growing up in a tough neighborhood years ago. Does he save himself and let her career be sacrificed? His decision leads to tragedy.Written by
Although the movie is titled Slander, there is no evidence that any of the characters were actually a victim of that crime, which refers to a malicious false statement. From all evidence, all of the stories, particularly that of the hero, presented in the scandal magazine were true. See more »
Opening credits are shown over gossip magazines coming towards the camera. When they are gone, the remaining credits are shown in a puddle of black ink. See more »
Curious period piece about heyday of "scandal sheets"
A curious period piece not without interest, Slander was made in the heyday of guttersnipe periodicals like "Confidential," that ruined show-biz careers and blackmailed victims into spilling dirt on bigger prey. Steve Cochran portrays the oily gossip publisher, a bachelor with a strangely solicitous relationship with his alcoholic mother (Marjorie Rambeau). In trying to dig up the goods on a beloved Broadway star, he zeros in on Van Johnson as a boyhood pal, a third-rate puppeteer who has finally got his big break in the new medium of television. Alas, the puppeteer once served four years in the hoosegow for armed robbery, despite the fact that he's now a devoted family man with wife (Ann Blyth) and son (Richard Eyer) in tow. Van Johnson refuses to knuckle under to the blackmail demands, and much melodrama ensues. Today, with a no-holds-barred press with almost non-existent restraints when it comes to public figures, Slander looks a bit quaint. But in the 50s, these tactics -- which probably wouldn't have been tolerated except for the parallel phenomenon of McCarthyism -- were seen as a deadly threat to the studios and their stars. Scandal, made at MGM under Dory Schary, is Hollywood's overwrought (and none too good) response. The following year, Alexander Mackendrick's chillingly dark Sweet Smell of Success (with Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis)trod much the same ground in a far more memorable way.
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