6.4/10
432
21 user 5 critic

The Star Witness (1931)

TV-G | | Drama | 22 August 1931 (USA)
Members of a family witness two murders, but the gang uses threats, violence and kidnapping to try to keep the members from testifying.

Director:

Writers:

(original story), (dialogue)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Ma Leeds
...
Pa Leeds
...
Sue Leeds
...
'Maxey' Campo
...
Jackie Leeds
...
Ned Leeds
...
Big Jack
...
Donny Leeds
...
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 (29) »

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

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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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 »

Goofs

Two men are shot in the back while running away, but they clutch their chests as they fall down. 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

 
Charles "Chic" Sales is terrific as the title character in this Oscar-nominated story about civic duty versus personal safety.
6 October 1998 | by (Pine Grove, California) – See all my reviews

Charles "Chic" Sales is absolutely terrific as the sole member of the Leeds family willing to testify against a gangster they saw murder a policeman and an informant. He fought at Bull Run in the Civil War and his patriotism runs high, even after his son-in-law is beaten and one of his grandson's is kidnapped by the gang, intimidating all the other members. Fear of his grandson's death is no excuse, he says. He wouldn't want his grandson living in a country run by gangsters anyway. The conflict between civic duty and personal safety is driven home sharply in this Oscar-nominated story. Walter Huston is also a standout as the hard driving district attorney threatening the family with perjury if they don't back up their identification of the killer in court. The rest of the cast, including the sleazy killer, Ralph Ince, are all excellent, and the film is snappily directed by William A. Wellman. There's also good suspense, as Sales disappears just as the trial is about to begin.


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