Martha Carstairs was charged with murder twenty years earlier. Now, as her daughter Edith is about to be married to Malcolm Sims Jr., son of a wealthy industrialist, a sensationalistic ... See full summary »
Martha Carstairs was charged with murder twenty years earlier. Now, as her daughter Edith is about to be married to Malcolm Sims Jr., son of a wealthy industrialist, a sensationalistic radio station revives interest in the case, leading to the suicide of Martha and her husband. Opposing the station's policy is Sherry Scott, supported by his secretary Alma Ross, "two against the world." Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
What a difference five years makes. This remake of "Five Star Final" (1931) came after the repeal of Prohibition and the institution of the Production Code. Consequently, the seedy speakeasy becomes a glossy cocktail bar, and the generally amoral atmosphere of the original acquires a bent to moral condemnation in the remake.
Still, "One Fatal Hour" (as it was titled on TCM) has a lot going for it. It's fast, nasty as Joe Breen would allow, and borrows much of "Five Star Final"'s sharp dialogue. (I think it also borrows the set for the hapless couple's apartment.) Bogart, in a rare pre-1940 lead role, gives a first-rate performance as the news director who struggles against his own principles even as he greenlights a muckraking radio series that will ruin the lives of a rehabilitated murderess and her blameless family. Harry Hayden, as a divinity student-turned-tabloid radio host, actually improves on Boris Karloff's performance in "Five Star Final"; he's charming, genial and deadly. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast is B-level, but watchable.
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