Deadline - U.S.A. (1952)
|Genre||Crime, Drama, Film-Noir|
|Content Rating||Passed (Passed)|
|Company||Twentieth Century Fox|
Deadline – U.S.A.
Deadline – U.S.A. is a 1952 American film noir crime film and starring Humphrey Bogart, Ethel Barrymore and Kim Hunter, written and directed by Richard Brooks. It is the story of a crusading newspaper editor who exposes a gangster's crimes while also trying to keep the paper from going out of business, and contains a subplot of him trying to reconcile with his ex-wife.
Ed Hutcheson (Humphrey Bogart) is the crusading managing editor of a large metropolitan newspaper called The Day. He is steadfastly loyal to publisher Margaret Garrison (Ethel Barrymore), the widow of the paper's founder, but Mrs. Garrison is on the verge of selling the newspaper to interests who plan to permanently cease its operation.
Hutcheson has other concerns, including that his former wife Nora (Kim Hunter) is going to remarry. He also puts his reporters to work on the murder of a young woman and the involvement of racketeer Tomas Rienzi (Martin Gabel), which could turn out to be a circulation builder that keeps the paper in business or else the last big story it ever covers.
Reporters discover that the dead girl, Bessie Schmidt, had been Rienzi's mistress, and that her brother Herman (Joe De Santis) had illegal business dealings with the gangster. Hutcheson gets to Herman with an opportunity to safely tell his story, but Rienzi's thugs, disguised as cops, take him away, resulting in Herman's death.
All seems lost when Mrs. Garrison's daughters, majority stockholders Kitty (Joyce MacKenzie) and Alice (Fay Baker), refuse to budge, causing a judge to permit The Day to be sold. Bessie's elderly mother, Mrs. Schmidt (Kasia Orzazewski), turns up in Hutcheson's office with her daughter's diary and $200,000 in cash, implicating Rienzi in his illegal activities. The presses roll as Hutcheson ignores the gangster's threats.
- Humphrey Bogart as Ed Hutcheson
- Ethel Barrymore as Margaret Garrison
- Kim Hunter as Nora Hutcheson
- Ed Begley as Frank Allen
- Warren Stevens as George Burrows
- Paul Stewart as Harry Thompson
- Martin Gabel as Tomas Rienzi
- Joseph De Santis as Herman Schmidt
- Joyce MacKenzie as Katherine "Kitty" Garrison Geary
- Audrey Christie as Mrs. Willebrandt
- Fay Baker as Alice Garrison Courtney
- Jim Backus as Jim Cleary
- Carleton Young as Crane, Garrison's daughters' lawyer
- Selmer Jackson as Williams
- Fay Roope as Judge McKay
- Parley Baer as Headwaiter
- John Doucette as Hal
- Florence Shirley as Miss Barndollar
- Kasia Orzazewski as Mrs. Schmidt
- Raymond Greenleaf as Lawrence White
- Tom Powers as Andrew Wharton
- Thomas Browne Henry as Fenway
- Phillip Terry as Lewis Schaefer, Nora's fiancé
- Joseph Sawyer as Whitey Franks
- Lawrence Dobkin as Larry Hansen, Rienzi's lawyer
- Alex Gerry as Prentiss
- Clancy Cooper as Police Captain Finlay
- Willis Bouchey as Henry
- Joseph Crehan as White's City Editor
- James Dean as Copyboy
- Norman Leavitt as Newsroom reporter
The newspaper used as background on the film, called The Day, is loosely based upon the old New York Sun, which closed in 1950. The original Sun newspaper was edited by Benjamin Day, making the 1952 film's newspaper name (not to be confused with the real-life New London, Connecticut newspaper of the same name) a play on words.
Tough as Nails, a biography of Brooks authored by Douglass K. Daniel, cites the 1931 death of the New York World newspaper as the basis for the film, including the decision by the sons of Joseph Pulitzer to sell the paper rather than run it themselves.
Variety gave the film a positive review calling Bogart "convincing".
The film's DVD and Blu-ray debut was in 2016. In the audio commentary, film historian Eddie Muller rates this film as one of the very best films ever made about the inner workings of a major newspaper.