The Turning Point (1952)

85 mins | Drama | 14 November 1952

Director:

William Dieterle

Writer:

Warren Duff

Producer:

Irving Asher

Cinematographer:

Lionel Lindon

Editor:

George Tomasini

Production Designers:

Hal Pereira, Joseph McMillan Johnson

Production Company:

Paramount Pictures Corp.
Full page view
HISTORY

The working title of this film was This Is Dynamite . Although a Mar 1950 HR news item announced that Paramount had purchased a "forthcoming novel" by Horace McCoy, titled This Is Dynamite, the SAB lists McCoy's story as unpublished. No evidence that the story was ever published has been found. As noted in reviews, the story was inspired by the U.S. Senate's Committee to Investigate Organized Crime, also known as the Kefauver Committee. Headed by Senator Estes Kefauver, the committee, which was active between 1950 and 1951, was charged with exposing organized crime on a national level. The HR reviewer commented that Carolyn Jones, who made her screen acting debut in the picture, appearing as a blonde, delivered a "pertly provocative take-off on Virginia Hill's testimony." Hill was gangster Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel's girl friend and a witness before the committee. For more information about the committee, see the entries for The Racket and The Kefauver Crime Investigation.
       According to a Mar 1950 HR item, Alan Ladd originally was to star in the picture, and Robert Fellows to produce. HR news items add the following actors to the cast: Johnny Clark, Claire Armstrong, Larry Canzolone, Bobby Castro, Norm Bishop, George Garver and Sayre Deering . Their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed.
       Much of the location filming took place in downtown Los Angeles's Bunker Hill neighborhood at the Angel's Flight funicular on W. 3rd Street between Hill and Olive streets, in the 400 block of W. 2nd Street (where two men are shot in a staged holdup), at ... More Less

The working title of this film was This Is Dynamite . Although a Mar 1950 HR news item announced that Paramount had purchased a "forthcoming novel" by Horace McCoy, titled This Is Dynamite, the SAB lists McCoy's story as unpublished. No evidence that the story was ever published has been found. As noted in reviews, the story was inspired by the U.S. Senate's Committee to Investigate Organized Crime, also known as the Kefauver Committee. Headed by Senator Estes Kefauver, the committee, which was active between 1950 and 1951, was charged with exposing organized crime on a national level. The HR reviewer commented that Carolyn Jones, who made her screen acting debut in the picture, appearing as a blonde, delivered a "pertly provocative take-off on Virginia Hill's testimony." Hill was gangster Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel's girl friend and a witness before the committee. For more information about the committee, see the entries for The Racket and The Kefauver Crime Investigation.
       According to a Mar 1950 HR item, Alan Ladd originally was to star in the picture, and Robert Fellows to produce. HR news items add the following actors to the cast: Johnny Clark, Claire Armstrong, Larry Canzolone, Bobby Castro, Norm Bishop, George Garver and Sayre Deering . Their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed.
       Much of the location filming took place in downtown Los Angeles's Bunker Hill neighborhood at the Angel's Flight funicular on W. 3rd Street between Hill and Olive streets, in the 400 block of W. 2nd Street (where two men are shot in a staged holdup), at the corner of W. 1st Street and S. Olive (the Gladden Apartments), at a store on the corner of W. 1st and Grand Avenue, and behind and inside the Belmont Hotel in the 200 block of S. Hill Street. The climax was filmed at the Olympic Auditorium on Grand Avenue and W. 18th Street.
       On 5 Oct 1954, Fred MacMurray and Joanne Dru appeared in a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast of the story. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
20 Sep 1952.
---
Daily Variety
16 Sep 52
p. 3.
Film Daily
18 Sep 52
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Mar 50
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Oct 1951
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Oct 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Oct 51
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Oct 51
p. 19.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Oct 51
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Nov 51
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Nov 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Nov 51
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Nov 51
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Apr 52
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Sep 52
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
20 Sep 52
p. 1533.
New York Times
15 Nov 52
p. 15.
Variety
17 Sep 52
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Based on a story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
Mus dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Tech adv
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
This Is Dynamite
Release Date:
14 November 1952
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 14 November 1952
Production Date:
early October--mid November 1951
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
1 November 1952
Copyright Number:
LP2080
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
85
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15707
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In a Midwestern city, prosecutor Johnny Conroy oversees a government committee charged with investigating Neil Eichelberger, who is suspected of using his trucking company and other legitimate businesses as a front for various criminal activities. Assigned to cover the investigation, tough reporter Jerry McKibbon warns Johnny, a childhood friend, about the dangers inherent in his public crusade, but Johnny assures him he is up to the job. Jerry accompanies Johnny to his parents' home and hears Johnny inform his father Matt, a police detective, that he has arranged his appointment as the committee's lead investigator. To Johnny's surprise, Matt forcibly rejects the post, and later, a suspicious Jerry tails Matt and a gangster named Harrigan to Eichelberger's trucking company. The next day, during the committee's hearings, Johnny drills Joe Silbray, a former policeman, about his participation in a gang-related murder while on the force and his subsequent hiring by Eichelberger. Silbray denies any wrongdoing, but Johnny, who has stated that he would rather expose one "crooked cop" than a hundred gangsters, decides to bring in Mrs. Manzinates, the murder victim's mother, whose whereabouts the committee has just discovered. Jerry then observes Matt, who has changed his mind about helping the investigation, slip out of Johnny's office to make a phone call and advises Johnny to double-check everyone on the committee's payroll. Later, Amanda "Mandy" Waycross, Johnny's girl friend and secretary, drops by Jerry's apartment and demands to know what he is hiding from Johnny. Jerry, who is attracted to the well-to-do Mandy, ducks the question and instead criticizes her naivete. In turn, Mandy denounces Jerry's cynicism and his superior attitude toward the idealistic Johnny. ... +


In a Midwestern city, prosecutor Johnny Conroy oversees a government committee charged with investigating Neil Eichelberger, who is suspected of using his trucking company and other legitimate businesses as a front for various criminal activities. Assigned to cover the investigation, tough reporter Jerry McKibbon warns Johnny, a childhood friend, about the dangers inherent in his public crusade, but Johnny assures him he is up to the job. Jerry accompanies Johnny to his parents' home and hears Johnny inform his father Matt, a police detective, that he has arranged his appointment as the committee's lead investigator. To Johnny's surprise, Matt forcibly rejects the post, and later, a suspicious Jerry tails Matt and a gangster named Harrigan to Eichelberger's trucking company. The next day, during the committee's hearings, Johnny drills Joe Silbray, a former policeman, about his participation in a gang-related murder while on the force and his subsequent hiring by Eichelberger. Silbray denies any wrongdoing, but Johnny, who has stated that he would rather expose one "crooked cop" than a hundred gangsters, decides to bring in Mrs. Manzinates, the murder victim's mother, whose whereabouts the committee has just discovered. Jerry then observes Matt, who has changed his mind about helping the investigation, slip out of Johnny's office to make a phone call and advises Johnny to double-check everyone on the committee's payroll. Later, Amanda "Mandy" Waycross, Johnny's girl friend and secretary, drops by Jerry's apartment and demands to know what he is hiding from Johnny. Jerry, who is attracted to the well-to-do Mandy, ducks the question and instead criticizes her naivete. In turn, Mandy denounces Jerry's cynicism and his superior attitude toward the idealistic Johnny. With Mandy in tow, Jerry heads for Mrs. Manzinates' apartment, arriving just as several of Eichelberger's thugs are exiting the building, having reached an "understanding" with the old woman about her testimony. After explaining to a startled Mandy that Mrs. Manzinates just bought some "insurance," Jerry visits Matt at home. Jerry accuses Matt of tipping off Eichelberger about Mrs. Manzinates and gives him twenty-four hours to straighten himself out. Although he denies Jerry's charges, Matt goes to see Eichelberger, demanding to be cut loose from the gangster's operation. Eichelberger refuses, but instructs his cohorts to keep an eye on the detective. Later, during a party at Mandy's, Matt confesses to Jerry that he started working for Eichelberger years before, when he needed money to send Johnny to college. Sympathetic, Jerry suggests that Matt photocopy an incriminating police file that Eichelberger has requested he steal that night and pass it on to Johnny. After Matt asks Buck, the police records clerk, to break regulations and copy the file, the crooked Buck telephones Harrigan. That night, at her apartment, Mandy explains to Jerry that she admires Johnny and is grateful for a chance to help him, but does not reciprocate his love. Finally giving in to their feelings, Jerry and Mandy kiss. The next day, after delivering the file to Harrigan, Matt is instructed to meet Eichelberger at a filling station, but instead is gunned down by Monty LaRue, one of his thugs, during a phony robbery attempt. In turn, the thug is shot and killed by another Eichelberger gunman, and Matt is declared a heroic victim. Later, Jerry tells Mandy the truth about Matt, and when Johnny sees her crying on Jerry's shoulder, he understands that he has lost her. Despite his grief, Johnny pushes ahead with the hearing and questions Eichelberger about his sources of income. Eichelberger maneuvers skillfully around the queries, but Doc, one of Eichelberger's bookies, struggles to answer Johnny's questions about his involvement with Arco Securities, Eichelberger's stock company. Realizing that Johnny is scheming to expose Arco as his money laundering front, Eichelberger orders the company's records, along with the building, destroyed. After an explosion rocks the building and many residents are killed or maimed, Johnny's faith in his investigation wavers. Jerry urges him to continue and finally tells him the truth about his father. Not wanting to hurt his mother by revealing his father's crimes, Johnny insists on quitting, until Mandy declares that by giving up, he will send the wrong message and will someday regret his decision. When Jerry's story about Matt's murder hits the newspapers, LaRue's wife Carmelina realizes that her husband also was set up and, enraged, calls Jerry. Carmelina meets with Jerry at a cafe and is about to identify the men who hired LaRue when she sees Eichelberger's thugs walk in. Carmelina flees, as Jerry fights the men off. Later, while Johnny and the police try to track down Carmelina, Jerry receives a call from a man claiming to be Carmelina's friend. Jerry agrees to meet the man at a boxing arena, unaware that Eichelberger's lieutenant, Roy Ackerman, has hired Red, a hit man, to kill him. Carmelina, meanwhile, finally appears at the committee's headquarters and reveals all. As Johnny leaves to make some arrests, Mandy learns that Jerry is at the arena and rushes there. Suspicious, Fogel, another committee member, sends the police to the arena, and they arrive just as Jerry is shot by Red. The gunman then is shot by the police, while at Eichelberger's trucking company, the racketeer and his cronies are arrested by Johnny. Later, at the arena, after Mandy tearfully informs Johnny that Jerry has died, Johnny quotes Jerry, noting that "sometimes someone has to pay an exorbitant price to uphold the majesty of the law." +

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.