Deadline USA

Deadline U.S.A. movie poster

If you can’t see the film, listen to this radio version.

The newspaper is after a murderer. The founder’s daughters are after a profitable sale that will close the paper. Their mother has a change of heart, and tells her daughters, “Stupidity is not hereditary; you acquired it all by yourselves.”

A gangster is after the editor: “You’ve got two Pulitzer Prizes, they say. Are they worth much?”

Editor Ed Hutcheson (Humphrey Bogart in the film, Dan Dailey on the radio) has great lines about good newspapers and bad.

This IMDB quotations page has some of them:

The Turner Classic Movies Deadline U.S.A. page has cast lists, quotes, a full plot summary and viewer comments.

Margate Entertainment’s TVS Home Video came out with a DVD release in 2010, apparently based on a Fox Movie Channel version. It was available through and, including an Amazon online-rental release, but had been removed by fall 2012. For a while, the full movie also was available on YouTube in an unauthorized upload.

Memorable scenes:

1. The Day… A 1950s newsroom full of typewriters, pneumatic tubes, rewrite men in headsets, and a AP teletype bulletin saying the paper is being sold.

2. The newspaper wake. The staff “testify” at a journalism saloon… One man remembers being interviewed by the paper’s founder:

“Are you a journalist or a reporter?… A journalist makes himself the hero of the story; a reporter is only a witness.”

Hutcheson describes the competing newspaper, ironically named The Standard:

“It’s wild and yellow, but it’s not exactly a newspaper.”

To a young man seeking a newspaper job:

“So you want to be a reporter? Here’s some advice about this racket. Don’t ever change your mind. It may not be the oldest profession, but it’s the best.”

Later, he assigns the guy to the rewrite desk on the (late-night, red-eyed) “lobster shift,” even if it is only for a night or two before the paper closes.

3. When one of his reporters is assaulted outside the Hall of Records, the editor gets fighting mad. At a meeting with the owners, he quotes the founder’s statement of Pulitzer-like principles, to publish…

“Without fear, without distortion, without hope of personal gain…”

4. Another reporter is sent to investigate the beating:

“From this a fellow could catch a hole in the head…”
“He could. That bother you?”
“Oh no. No. No.”

5. Ed:

“The newspaper has no political party. We support men for office, some good, some bad.”

Even the competing yellow sheet’s publisher is impressed, ordering his city editor to get on the story and do some good old-fashioned journalism. (Coincidentally, the city editor is played by Joseph Crehan, the same actor who — as another city editor — gave an idealistic young news photographer a hard time 14 years earlier in Here’s Flash Casey.)

6. Editor:

“I figured with a story like this they’d never close us down. Well, we showed them how a real newspaper can function.”

7. The closing conversation…

Gangster: “Print that story, you’re a dead man!… (editor holds phone at arms length, toward the roaring presses) What’s that noise?”
Ed:”It’s the press, baby! And there’s nothing you can do about it…”

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