Behind the News (1940)

75 mins | Drama | 20 December 1940

Director:

Joseph Santley

Cinematographer:

Jack Marta

Production Designer:

John Victor Mackay

Production Company:

Republic Pictures Corp.
Full page view
HISTORY

The working title for this film was A Flagpole Needs a Flag . HR production charts include Carol Adams in the cast, but her participation in the completed film has not been confirmed. The film received an Academy Award nomination in the Sound Recording category. It was remade in 1955 by Republic under the title Headline Hunters , directed by William Whitney and starring Rod Cameron (see ... More Less

The working title for this film was A Flagpole Needs a Flag . HR production charts include Carol Adams in the cast, but her participation in the completed film has not been confirmed. The film received an Academy Award nomination in the Sound Recording category. It was remade in 1955 by Republic under the title Headline Hunters , directed by William Whitney and starring Rod Cameron (see below). More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
21 Dec 1940.
---
Daily Variety
11 Dec 40
p. 3.
Film Daily
23 Dec 40
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Oct 40
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Oct 40
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Nov 40
p. 2, 8
Hollywood Reporter
11 Dec 40
p. 4.
Motion Picture Daily
16 Dec 40
p. 9.
Motion Picture Herald
14 Dec 40
p. 41.
New York Times
16 Jan 41
p. 25.
Variety
25 Dec 40
p. 18.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
A Flagpole Needs a Flag
Release Date:
20 December 1940
Production Date:
22 October--8 November 1940
Copyright Claimant:
Republic Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
20 December 1940
Copyright Number:
LP10173
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
75
Length(in feet):
6,607
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
PCA No:
6841
SYNOPSIS

Jeff Flavin, an idealistic journalism school graduate, wins a scholarship entitling him to six months employment as a cub reporter on the Enquirer . On the day Jeff arrives, managing editor Vic Archer is ranting against his star reporter, Stuart Woodrow, whose cynicism and laziness are destroying his reputation as a great writer. Archer assigns Jeff to Stu in hopes of resuscitating Stu's interest in his career, but because Stu loathes cubs, he treats Jeff badly. Stu is covering the arrest of notorious racketeer Harry "Face" Houseman, who is to be prosecuted by district attorney Hardin S. Kelly. The reporters accuse Kelly of going after Houseman merely because he is up for re-election, and indeed the case secures the election for Kelly. Meanwhile, Jeff investigates a rash of food poisonings at the local home for elderly people. Jeff gets himself and Stu arrested while trying to obtain evidence, causing Stu to miss an important date with his fiancée, Barbara Shaw, who is Kelly's secretary. Soon after, Stu gets drunk and tells Jeff off, but Jeff nonetheless helps Stu out when he is too drunk to cover Houseman's escape from prison. Jeff goes to the apartment of Houseman's sister and watches in horror as Houseman is gunned down and an innocent child, killed. Jeff writes the story under Stu's byline, which prompts Stu's gratitude but makes him more determined to get Jeff out of the newspaper racket, as he thinks he is too decent for it. He gives Jeff a false story about the mayor's divorce, and an infuriated Archer demotes Jeff to reading the funny pages on the radio. ... +


Jeff Flavin, an idealistic journalism school graduate, wins a scholarship entitling him to six months employment as a cub reporter on the Enquirer . On the day Jeff arrives, managing editor Vic Archer is ranting against his star reporter, Stuart Woodrow, whose cynicism and laziness are destroying his reputation as a great writer. Archer assigns Jeff to Stu in hopes of resuscitating Stu's interest in his career, but because Stu loathes cubs, he treats Jeff badly. Stu is covering the arrest of notorious racketeer Harry "Face" Houseman, who is to be prosecuted by district attorney Hardin S. Kelly. The reporters accuse Kelly of going after Houseman merely because he is up for re-election, and indeed the case secures the election for Kelly. Meanwhile, Jeff investigates a rash of food poisonings at the local home for elderly people. Jeff gets himself and Stu arrested while trying to obtain evidence, causing Stu to miss an important date with his fiancée, Barbara Shaw, who is Kelly's secretary. Soon after, Stu gets drunk and tells Jeff off, but Jeff nonetheless helps Stu out when he is too drunk to cover Houseman's escape from prison. Jeff goes to the apartment of Houseman's sister and watches in horror as Houseman is gunned down and an innocent child, killed. Jeff writes the story under Stu's byline, which prompts Stu's gratitude but makes him more determined to get Jeff out of the newspaper racket, as he thinks he is too decent for it. He gives Jeff a false story about the mayor's divorce, and an infuriated Archer demotes Jeff to reading the funny pages on the radio. Later, Jeff goes to court to aid one of his young listeners and afterward watches the trial of Carlos Marquez, a Mexican accused of killing Houseman. Jeff, who speaks Spanish, hears translator Tomas Olmedo falsely state that Carlos confessed to the murder. Carlos is convicted, and when Jeff tries to convince Archer and the others of his innocence, they refuse to listen to him because of the fake story. Barbara finally convinces Stu to give Jeff a break, and the trio searches Kelly's office for clues. They discover that Olmedo was paid off by Kelly and also that Kelly had been receiving graft from Houseman and other racketeers for years. Speculating that Kelly was behind Houseman's escape and murder, they then find Olmedo and secure his testimony. Kelly is arrested and convicted, Carlos is freed, and Jeff, now a full-fledged reporter, is the best man at Stu and Barbara's wedding. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.