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.



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


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Complete credited cast:
Frances Starr ...
Ma Leeds
Pa Leeds
Sue Leeds
'Maxey' Campo
Edward J. Nugent ...
Jackie Leeds
Ned Leeds
Big Jack
Donny Leeds
Deputy Thorpe
Charles 'Chic' Sale ...
Private Summerill


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) »









Release Date:

22 August 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Principal Testemunha  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


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 »


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


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


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

A terrific little film without a wasted moment in its 68 minutes...
4 April 2000 | by (Colorado) – See all my reviews

Inexpensive but carefully made, this story of a New York family threatened by gangsters is sharply etched and engrossing. Good acting and great camera work enhance this quickie with a topical slant. The overacting by Chic Sale is outrageous but a lot of fun. A thriller with many comic moments, it displays ample amounts of William Wellman's directorial style. A pulp masterpiece that matches Wellman's "Public Enemy" from the same year.

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