|Index||4 reviews in total|
Marsha Hunt is the best thing about this low budget crime drama! Mongram studios like other low budget poverty row studios tried to compete with the majors by adding more action, sex or violence where they couldn't afford talent. And this story has more than your average plot twists... In this newspaper drama, a young man's father, a prominent newspaper publisher is violently murdered by famous gangsters. The young man uses the power of his newly inherited press to get revenge upon the killers by exposing them. Unfortunately, the young man's schemes go awry when he learns the identity of the trigger man. Plot devices include two sets of fathers, two signed confessions that gets stolen out of two safes, by two safe crackers!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The best thing about Star Reporter is its female lead, Marsha Hunt, here making her sixteenth film, would you believe? Although she was billed in second place to then-famous Walter C. Kelly in her very first film, The Virginia Judge (1935), movie photographers still didn't know how to light her face attractively fifteen pictures later. Fortunately, M-G-M took notice of her performance in this movie and signed her to a contract. Her roles and her charisma improved. But even with Arthur Martinelli's none-too-flattering photography in Star Reporter, she's still the movie's number-one attraction. The story complete with some really crazy twists is strictly dime-novel stuff, although it does engage one's interest adequately, thanks to Hunt's charisma and some solid acting by the support cast, particularly by Wallis Clark as the D.A., Morgan Wallace as the hero's dad and Virginia Howell in a meaty role (for once!) as our hero's mum. As for the hero himself, as played here by Warren Hull, although he acts the role vigorously, he makes little impression but that's good. He's saddled with some really crazy twists in the plot, yet he cleverly manages to make us unaware as to just how unlikely and paper-thin these developments actually are! The movie was directed by Howard Bretherton, a first-class film editor (Heroes for Sale, Baby Face) but a less interesting if reasonably competent director.
A lot of plot for 62 minutes in this fast paced little entry in the
"newspaper vs. mob" genre. Various characters on both sides of the law
harbor secret (and not-so-secret) motives, hidden relationships, and
the good old-fashioned grudges that D.A.s, gangsters, and newspaper
reporters bounce back and forth among themselves. Along with all that
are the two women in the story--fiancée and mother, each with her own
At the center of it all, Warren Hull is not bad in the title role, though perhaps the most interesting thing about his character is how long it takes him to discover a basic fact of the plot that several other characters--both on his side and working against him--are keeping from him!
Is it a lot to keep track of? Um, not particularly, since the plot moves along too fast for us to get too wrapped in the whole situation. But then, we don't have time to get bored either. Which is kind of what we expect from a B movie with a title like Star Reporter, right?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Star Reporter" is not a film that you should rush out to see. It's got
some serious problems with the plot now and then, a very low budget and
predictability. And yet, it is entertaining if you are a fan of
B-movies from this period.
The film is about the District Attorney and his reporter friend in their efforts to crack organized crime. Their big lead comes when a murder suspect is caught--and the crook knows a lot about the mob and might just be willing to talk. However, the mob isn't about to let this happen and will do anything to get this guy off the hook--though oddly, they don't just have him murdered (this seemed like the logical alternative to me). But, how the mob handles this is novel--as they discover that the killer is actually the father of the reporter and they plan on exploiting this! This ridiculous coincidence is pretty hard to believe as is the incident with the reporter's fiancée (Marsha Hunt) getting accused of murder herself (after she's in a particularly dumb scene involving a gun). While the plot problems are obvious, the film has a certain charm and is oddly compelling--mostly because the script, while clichéd, works well as a B-film.
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