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Laramie Movie Scope:
Absence of Malice

Ethics in journalism

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by Patrick Ivers, Film Critic
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Absence of Malice Ė A quarter century after this movie was released (1981) its subject of ethics in journalism remains relevant. A liquor distributor in Miami, Michael Gallagher (Paul Newman), becomes a target of interest in an investigation of a mob murder because of his deceased fatherís long-ago association with the Mafia; the DAís Strike Force director uses an unwitting newspaper reporter Megan Carter (Sally Fields) to write a story labeling Gallagher as a suspect in a federal probe, thus smearing his reputation.

Her story creates many unintended consequences, including a suicide and Meganís romantic involvement with Gallagher, all without malice. Gallagher manages to cleverly turn the tables on his accusers. During an inquiry of all the events (this is a terrific scene that summarizes all of the foregoing), US Assistant Attorney General James A. Wells (Wilford Brimley) threatens the DA, the director of the Strike Force, and Megan with grand-jury subpoenas if they donít explain their involvement; and when Megan hesitates to reveal her sources for her story, Wells threatens her with jail time. Sound familiar? Written by former journalist Kurt Luedtke, the movie questions the distinction between truth and accuracy in reporting.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2007 Patrick Ivers. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Patrick Ivers can be reached via e-mail at nora's email address at juno. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)