Watch Portland Expose
- 1 hr 12 min
Portland Expose is a gripping and edgy crime drama from 1957. Directed by Harold D. Schuster, the film stars Edward Binns, Carolyn Craig, and Virginia Gregg, and delves into the shadowy underworld of organized crime and police corruption in 1950s Portland, Oregon. The story centers around a newspaper reporter named Jerry McKibbon, played with gritty authenticity by Edward Binns. McKibbon is a hard-boiled journalist who is tired of playing it safe with fluff pieces and editorial drivel. He longs to sink his teeth into a real story, one that will expose the corruption and malfeasance plaguing the city he loves. His chance comes when a prominent city councilor named Wheeler is gunned down in broad daylight. The shooting shocks the community and sets off a chain of events that will test the mettle of McKibbon and his colleagues at the Portland Free Press. McKibbon is convinced that the killing was the work of a powerful and shadowy criminal organization that is running a protection racket throughout the city. He knows that the police are either in on the scam or too scared to take on the mobsters, and he sets out to find the evidence that will force the authorities to act. He's aided in his quest by a beautiful and determined young photographer named Sally, played by Carolyn Craig. Sally is smart, resourceful, and unafraid of putting herself in harm's way to get the story. She soon becomes McKibbon's trusted partner as they follow the trail of clues, digging deeper and deeper into the dark heart of Portland's criminal underworld. One of the film's strengths is its authentic portrayal of the city itself. Although it was shot on a soundstage in Hollywood, Portland Expose artfully incorporates real-life locations and landmarks from the actual city. From the gritty waterfront district to the posh suburbs, the film paints a vivid picture of Portland in the 1950s, a city on the brink of change. The performances are top-notch, particularly Binns as the ruggedly handsome, truth-seeking reporter. He imbues the character with a sense of fierce determination and righteous anger, making it clear that he won't stop until he's exposed the corruption that's eating away at his beloved city. Carolyn Craig is equally impressive as Sally, bringing a spunky, can-do attitude to the role. The film is also notable for its use of film noir conventions. The moody black-and-white cinematography is reminiscent of classic films like Double Indemnity and The Maltese Falcon. The use of chiaroscuro lighting and shadowy camerawork gives the film a sense of brooding menace, adding to the sense of danger and intrigue. The plot is twisty and the pacing is brisk, keeping the audience guessing until the very end. The film does a great job of ratcheting up the tension, as McKibbon and Sally get closer and closer to the truth, putting themselves in danger with every step. The final act is an action-packed climax that brings all the film's various plot threads together in a satisfying, explosive finale. Overall, Portland Expose is a taut and thrilling crime drama that deserves to be better known. It's a smart, well-crafted film that combines social commentary with pulse-pounding action, all set against a vividly-realized backdrop of 1950s Portland. Anchored by strong performances and stylish direction, it's a film that would be right at home on the double-bill of any revival cinema.