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Yellow journalism is not exactly new, as this 1932 sendup of a keyhole-peeping columnist proves. Early Hollywood bad boy Lee Tracy (who created the Hildy Johnson role for The Front Page on Broadway) portrays raspy Alvin Roberts, whose zest for unearthing short marriage-to-maternity spans among Broadway’s notables lifts him from lowly clerk to tabloid king. Once on top, he’s convinced that no one is exempt from his poison pen. But there are some pinstriped types in town who intend to prove him dead wrong. This fast-paced film features a cast of fine character actors. It also marked the film debut of Dick Powell, who later went on to play Philip Marlowe in Murder, My Sweet. But it is Tracy’s cocky, ingenious scandalmonger that had critics raving, “Lee Tracy does the role to the hilt” (Motion Picture Herald).

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WAA75251 Blessed Event DVD (1932/Lee Tracy) $17.99