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Lee is a fresh young kid from the South when he gets a job with The Press. His first assignment on gangsters gets his name in the paper, the police on a raid and Lee in the hospital. He quickly finds that it is everyone for himself, so he goes into the business of not reporting for a fee. He quickly learns to shake down the gangsters, and with the paper behind him, they leave Lee alone. But the girl he is crazy for will only trade a ring for his going straight. Written by
Tony Fontana <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The film is based on Chicago Tribune reporter Jake Lingle, who was shot and killed the day before he was to meet with federal agents in connection with Al Capone's finances. Lingle was on Capone's payroll. See more »
For his fifth credited film, Clark Gable was loaned to Warner Brothers where as gang leader Louis Blanco he dominates the film The Finger Points. The story is not so loosely based on the saga of Chicago Tribune reporter Jake Lingle who was gunned down because he had traded on his journalistic immunity from bullets just once too often.
Richard Barthelmess plays a courtly and naive southern kid who comes to the big city to make good. Playing it on the square for $35.00 a week when the paper won't stand your hospital bills while hurt on the job was just a bit much for him. He decides to use his contacts to kill stories more than print them and get paid off big time for doing so. Clark Gable puts him on to this racket, but pretty soon Barthelmess is in business all for himself.
I'm surprised in this pre-code drama that Barthelmess's character was softened in the end. Possibly to make him a suitable love interest for Fay Wray who plays the newspaper's sob sister columnist. The softening however cheapens the story, the real Jake Lingle was never repentant of any of his gangland dealings.
Nevertheless Gable's charisma really dominates this film. He did about 10 films in 1931 mostly for his home studio of MGM and his parts kept getting bigger and bigger. I'm sure Jack Warner would love to have put him in his gangster stable of stars. If he could have it's interesting to speculate where Clark Gable's career might have gone.
The Finger Points is a not a bad film, but Lingle's story inspired many films and has been done better.
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