George Bancroft … Mark Flint
Kay Francis … Edith Flint
Clive Brook … Noel Adams
Regis Toomey … Regan
Lucien Littlefield … Charles McCloskey
Gilbert Emery … Franklin
Harry Beresford … Egbert Bertram Arnold
Mary Foy … Mrs. Wilson
Jackie Searl … Little Wilson Boy
Fred Kelsey … Detective Sgt. Vincent Molloy
Directed by John Cromwell.
Story by Oliver H.P. Garrett.
Screenplay by Vincent Lawrence & Max Marcin.
Sound by J.A. Goodrich.
Original Music by Karl Hajos & W. Frank Harling.
Camera by Davis Abel.
Editing by George Nichols Jr.
Released February 6, 1931.
A Paramount Picture.
Scandal Sheet marked the first release for Kay Francis in the year of 1931. It not only provided her a second opportunity to work with George Bancroft, but it was also her first film with debonair English actor Clive Brook.
The story was based on the life of Charles Chapin, a former editor for the New York Evening World. Chapin had murdered his wife and tried to make it look as if she had committed suicide. During the filming of Scandal Sheet, Chapin died in prison on December 12, 1930.
John Cromwell, one of Kay’s best directors, was the director of this film.
Francis was not exactly riding high at Paramount during this time. In January of 1931, she signed a lucrative contract offer with Warner Bros., though her employment with Paramount was not to end for another year. There was some tension between Francis and the studio, as evident in the change of assignments in which she received.
When Kay first arrived at Paramount in 1929, she seemed destined for overnight stardom. To an extent, she achieved it. But it was not long after her completion of a few projects at Paramount where it became obvious that the studio really didn’t know what to do with her.
If Francis was going to achieve any notoriety at all for the studio, it would be as a well-known featured player. Nothing more.
While her assignments for the remainder of the year were mostly mediocre, critics praised her performances. Of Scandal Sheet, the New York Times wrote, “Kay Francis gives a steady performance as Mrs. Flint.”
A year later, Francis would find herself at a new studio as a prestige star in her own right. The only difference would be as her films became more developed as starring vehicles, the kind remarks from critics became fewer and farther between.
By Mordaunt Hall. Published February 9, 1931 in the New York Times.
In “Scandal Sheet,” the current pictorial offerings at the Paramount, George Bancroft portrays Mark Flint, a tyrannical and relentless managing editor of a tabloid paper, whose mad eagerness to print the news, no matter who it harms, ends, as one might surmise, in his being hoist with his own petard.
Parts of the story have evidently been inspired by the life of an unfortunate newspaper city editor who died in Sing Sing. Flint is last seen in prison, editing a convict newspaper, still hungry for news.
The scenes in the newspaper office are much better done than usual, but the actions of Flint and others are invariably melodramatic. Flint’s elderly secretary is a nonchalant specimen of humanity who never gets excited no matter what he has to take down on his typewriter. The last bit of precious news chances to be Flint’s confession of having murdered Noel Adams, a banker, with whom Mrs. Flint is in love.
Flint discovers his wife’s infatuation for Adams through a photograph snapped by a man sent to watch Adams, whose bank is on the brink of disaster. This picture reveals Adams with his arm around Mrs. Flint as they stand at a window wondering what an “extra” is about. This photographer must have had a long-distance lens to get such a picture, but, be that as it may, the photograph eventually finds its way to Flint’s desk. It is news and, no matter who it hurts, it must be printed!
Clive Brook acts the part of Adams with coolness and ease. The shooting of Adams is left to the imagination, but Flint is perceived on his way to the banker’s apartment and a little later he is seen returning in a taxicab after having slain his wife’s lover.
Mr. Bancroft does quite well with his rôle. He is a trifle melodramatic at times, but in the closing scenes his work is impressive. Kay Francis gives a steady performance as Mrs. Flint, and Gilbert Emery is excellent as the publisher of the tabloid.
Irene Bordoni appears in person on the stage, and sings several songs and mimics Maurice Chevalier singing one of his songs.
Originally appeared in the
February 1931 issue of Photoplay: