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The Star Witness (1931)

 -  Drama  -  22 August 1931 (USA)
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 347 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 4 critic

Members of a family witness two murders, but the gang uses threats, violence and kidnapping to try to keep the members from testifying.

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Writers:

(original story), (dialogue), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Star Witness (1931)

The Star Witness (1931) on IMDb 6.4/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
District Attorney Whitlock
Frances Starr ...
Ma Leeds
...
Pa Leeds
...
Sue Leeds
Ralph Ince ...
'Maxey' Campo
Edward J. Nugent ...
Jackie Leeds
...
Ned Leeds
...
Big Jack
George Ernest ...
Donny Leeds
Russell Hopton ...
Deputy Thorpe
Charles 'Chic' Sale ...
Private Summerill
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Storyline

The Leeds family is thrown right in the middle of a war between the cops and gangland when they are the only witnesses to two murders committed by gang kingpin Maxey Campos. Initially positive in their identification of the murderer, their attitudes change when young Donny Leeds is kidnapped by Campos' boys. No amount of threatening with perjury by D.A. Whitlock can get them to tell the truth - except for cantankerous old Grandpa, civil war veteran, who berates his family for failing to do their civic duty, whatever the cost. Though having his doubts as to the credibility of his star witness, Whitlock is nevertheless taken aback when he learns Grandpa has disappeared just before he is to testify. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

gang | murder | witness | veteran | duty | See All (28) »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

TV-G
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

22 August 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Principal Testemunha  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Variety reported that the film was rushed into release because of a gang shooting in Harlem in which several children were shot and the police could not get witnesses to talk. The Motion Picture Herald also reported that Warner Bros. gave the proceeds of the first two performances at The Winter Garden to families of 5 children who were shot by gang warfare in Little Italy. See more »

Connections

Version of The Man Who Dared (1939) See more »

Soundtracks

Yankee Doodle
(ca. 1755) (uncredited)
Traditional music of English origin
Played often on a fife by Charles 'Chic' Sale
See more »

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User Reviews

Warner Crime
26 February 2008 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Star Witness, The (1931)

*** (out of 4)

Warner gangster film has several flaws but remains highly entertaining throughout the 67-minute running time. An American family sees gangsters kill two undercover cops and they plan on testifying but soon the gangsters are threatening their lives. Things take a turn for the worse when their young son is kidnapped by the gangsters but the D.A. (Walter Huston) must find a way to get their testimony. As I said, there's all sorts of flaws with this film and like many early talkies it does too much talking but there's still plenty to enjoy here including the frankness of the pre-code drama. There's some rather strong violence including a beating, the shootout and some more abuse towards the kidnapped child. These pre-code elements certainly set it apart plus you've got Huston chewing more scenery than ten other actors could combined. Frances Starr, Grant Mitchell, Ralph Ince, Dickie Moore and Charles Sale co-star for director William Wellman. Received an Oscar nomination for Best Story.


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