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The Sellout is a good B picture crime drama out of MGM using a solid
heaping helping of their B picture contract players.
Newspaper editor Walter Pigeon and a friend Whit Bissell get caught up in a speedtrap in the rural part of the county they reside in. Given the Code was in place in 1951, I'm sure they would have been brutalized far more graphically in the jail of Thomas Gomez the corrupt sheriff of the county. Still and all it's enough to fill Pigeon with a firm resolve to get Gomez. Even without the help of local prosecutor Cameron Mitchell who is Pigeon's son-in-law.
But a crusading special prosecutor from the State Attorney General and an honest city cop played by John Hodiak and Karl Malden respectively get into the picture due to Pigeon's hard hitting articles. There's far more than a speedtrap involved. Then Pigeon's ardor suddenly cools.
I think that anyone who's seen a lot of movies can figure the ending out from here. But these are a good group of some of the best players around. One other reviewer mentioned that Audrey Totter's role as a woman of easy virtue is left up in the air. I would guess the editors had more to do with it than anything else.
Thomas Gomez delivers the best performance in the film. He's a viciously evil man and he drives his corrupt lawyer Everett Sloane crazy. Sloane tries very hard to fix things without violence or crudity. But Gomez just can't be controlled.
It's a good film, very much like The Phoenix City Story that would come along a few years later.