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SLANDER (1956)


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Sepiatone wrote:

Were there any movies about libel? Can't find one with that title, but maybe those producers didn't want it confused with another movie that WAS about libel. I dunno...

 

In the mid-50's, Olivia de Havilland and Dirk Bogarde starred in *Libel* which is set in England and a drama. Then there's *Libeled Lady* which is an American comedy.

 

This movie must have a stab at Confidential and other such magazines that were at their peak when it was made. Today we have the ones at the checkout counter I won't mention that evidently people still buy. Our pets are smarter as I've been told gogs won't poop on them nor will cats use a litter box lined with them. Maybe that's why Francis of Assisi is always shown with them rather than humans.

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>In the mid-50's, Olivia de Havilland and Dirk Bogarde starred in Libel which is set in England and a drama.

 

Ahem...excuse me here, wouldbe, but are you sure the correct spelling of that Brit-made movie's title wasn't "Libeul"????

 

(...sorry)

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Btw finance, I gotta say whether the correct legal term was being used or not for this flick's title, didn't ya just love it when Van Johnson backhanded Steve Cochran upside the chops?

 

I've probably said this before around here, but the more of Van Johnson's work I see, the more I think he was a much better dramatic actor then I ever gave him credit for being in years past.

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Van Johnson's one of many actors who could be quite good when given a meaty part, as he was in Slander, but unlike a Cagney or a Robert Ryan, he couldn't make a mediocre movie borderline memorable simply by his mere presence.

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That might be a fair assessment of Johnson's overall impact in most of his films. It does seem his best work was done in film dramas where he's more a supporting player and a member of an ensemble cast of other exceptional actors, such as say in "Battleground", "Command Decision" or "The Caine Mutiny", doesn't it.

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finance, I think you missed the whole point of Van's character in the film. He committed the crime when he was young because he loved his mother and she needed money for an operation. He said that it was his mother who had helped the actress when the actress was a young girl. By telling her secret he would have undone the good his mother had done. Secondly, Van's character was NOT going to put up with blackmail, and that was what Cochran's character was doing. Blackmailing him, if Van told the actresses secret he wouldn't publish the story of Van's past crime, and if he didn't tell he would. That's Blackmail. NOT hard to understand once you understand what a decent guy Van's character was.

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Not sure why your response is addressed to me, unless it's just that I posted before you. I never discussed the merits of the film, including the ending, my comment was addressed to finance's questioning why Van didn't just spill the beans about the actress.

I didn't care for the ending either. Van's pay off for his principle's was his son's death. A too high price to pay. However, the point I think of the film was the ugliness and destructiveness of tabloid gossip type newspapers and the unsavory types responsible for them. Cochran's mother taking his life, if that's the part of ending you're referring to, I think made sense.

That was why she asked Ann Blyth if her son actions had to do with Ann's son's death. She couldn't live with it on her conscience that her son was a monster and would probably continue to cause more tragedy for others. she had to stop him.

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If I remember correctly,.LIBEL dealt with the public denouncing of Alec Guinness` character as being an imposter, not being Lord So n so, but someone who took his place in a pow camp, by killing the actual Lord. Guinness is being blackmailed, so has to accuse the blackmailer of Libel.

 

Edited by: Arturo on Aug 18, 2013 2:32 PM

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Well I'm glad you agree with my take on the films, however, the mother couldn't be responsible for "the others" but she could stop her own son. Also, the point of Van appearing on TV to tell his story was not only to discredit Cochran's gossip tabloid, but to shame the public into NOT buying any gossip "rag" .

 

I think there's a comparision between the movie *Ransom* with Glenn Ford that came out I think a year earlier and *Slander* . Both Ford and Johnson would not be intimidated to give up their principles. In *Ransom* Ford did come out as the winner since they got his son back unharmed. *Slander* went beyond that with the son's death. I don't disagree that *Slander* was over the top with the son's death, but I still think the point was to call attention to the horrendous effects of gossip tabloids.

 

I think this was the time period in films. Preachy about the evils going on in society at that time. Too bad that more attention in reality wasn't paid about those gossip tabloids and their destructiveness.

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>I think this was the time period in films. Preachy about the evils going on in society at that time. Too bad that more attention in reality wasn't paid about those gossip tabloids and their destructiveness.

 

Darn right, Lavender, because this film depicted an era and actually presents scenes where and when those in the legitimate news business would scorn those such as the Cochran character who's business was tabloid journalism, and in contrast to today and how many if not most of the "legitimate" news sources often actually quote and reference many of the stories propagated by the tabloids, such as those from the Cochran character's modern day equivalent...the smarmy Harvey Levin and his "TMZ" brand of crap "journalism".

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Well not to sound like I'm defending TMZ but in those ?good old days' journalists hide stuff from the public. I fail to see how that is honorable. E.g. Mantle being drunk in public and making a fool of himself and being so hung over he wasn?t effective the next day on the field.

 

As long as the so called gossip is the truth I think a journalist has a duty to disclose it. It is up to the public to decide how the individuals involved are judged. So one positive thing about today compared to those good old days is that so called negative behaviors are now viewed more realistically e.g. A black guy dating white women, a single women getting pregnant, someone being gay, smoking some pot, etc?

 

These are things one doesn?t need to be ashamed of.

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I think that his spending time in jail and the guilt he felt over the crime probably had something to do with his wanting to be a totally upstanding, do right guy. I'm sure most would want to save their own necks and tell, but that would have been a different movie, and would not work with Van's character.

If Van's character had known the outcome, he would then have ratted on the actress.

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Yes James, in many regards society has progressed for the better since the 1950s, however I'm still of the mind that at least in regard to the news business, there was been a slow and steady slide downhill in the quality and proportion of "real news" being broadcast(especially) since the days of Edward R. Murrow signing off with his signature tagline, "Good night and good luck".

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