The Sellout (1951)

Genres - Crime, Drama  |   Release Date - Jan 25, 1952 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 83 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

The Sellout is a middling crime drama, enlivened by its cast and by some sturdy direction from Gerald Mayer. What keeps Sellout from being a better film is, of course, its screenplay. Charles Palmer's adaptation of Matthew Rapf's story is unfortunately short on imagination and originality. Films from this genre, of course, often travel familiar territory on the surface, but the better films find ways of keeping the journey fresh and exciting. Palmer is content to go through the motions, without giving the script the spark of distinction it so desperately needs. Fortunately, Mayer doesn't let this stop him from trying to inject a little juice into the proceedings; it's all superficial, but his effort is appreciated and it does have a pay-off. Walter Pidgeon does just about as good a job as anyone could do under the circumstances, and John Hodiak is surprisingly effective as well. Audrey Totter is wasted but still worth having on hand, and Thomas Gomez and Everett Sloane even manage to find some interesting ways to play their not-otherwise distinguished roles. There's enough talent to make Sellout worth watching, but it's not a classic by any means.