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Five Star Final (1931)

Not Rated | | Crime , Drama | 26 September 1931 (USA)
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ON DISC
The City Editor of a sleazy tabloid goes against his own journalistic ethics to resurrect a twenty year old murder case... with tragic results.

Director:

Mervyn LeRoy

Writers:

Louis Weitzenkorn (based on the play by), Byron Morgan (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Edward G. Robinson ... Joseph W. Randall
Marian Marsh ... Jenny Townsend
H.B. Warner ... Michael Townsend
Anthony Bushell ... Phillip Weeks
George E. Stone ... Ziggie Feinstein
Frances Starr ... Nancy 'Voorhees' Townsend
Ona Munson ... Kitty Carmody
Boris Karloff ... T. Vernon Isopod
Aline MacMahon ... Miss Taylor
Oscar Apfel ... Bernard Hinchecliffe
Purnell Pratt ... Robert French
Robert Elliott ... R. J. Brannegan
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Storyline

Hinchcliffe, the ruthless publisher of a sleazy New York tabloid, is concerned that the ethical journalistic policies of City Editor Randall have caused a drop in circulation. He pressures the newsman to run more sensational stories including resurrecting the twenty year old Vorhees Murder Case. Although the perpetrator's actions were ultimately judged justifiable, and she has been subsequently living an exemplary life in anonymity, Hunchcliffe insists Randall revisit the story. Randall assigns Isopod, an alcoholic degenerate, to dig up anything lurid that he find. The unprincipled reporter fraudulently insinuates himself into the Vorhees' home masquerading as a minister and gets the expose he sought. Yellow journalism triumphs, and a decent woman's name gets dragged through the mud again... with tragic consequences. Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A picture as sensational as its subject! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 September 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

O Caso Voorhees See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

First National Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Vitaphone production reels #4931-4940. See more »

Goofs

[All goofs for this title are spoilers.] See more »

Quotes

Brannegan: For 2 cents I'd smash your face in.
Joseph W. Randall: You'd do anything for 2 cents.
See more »

Connections

Featured in When the Talkies Were Young (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

The Wearing of the Green
(uncredited)
Traditional Irish street ballad (1798)
Whistled by Harold Waldridge
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Five Star Final (1931) ***
14 July 2005 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

A powerful, uncompromising early look at "Yellow Journalism" which made a great enough impact at the time to be counted among the year's best films at the Academy Awards – to say nothing of the rush of similar pictures which followed in its wake, culminating in Howard Hawks' masterpiece, HIS GIRL Friday (1940).

Edward G. Robinson is re-united here with the director of LITTLE CAESAR (1930), the film that made him a star, and delivers another great performance which is sufficiently nuanced to anchor the somewhat melodramatic plot in reality. Supporting him, among many others, are Aline MacMahon as his long-suffering secretary who's secretly in love with him and Boris Karloff in a marvelous turn as the most shamelessly hypocritical reporter on the newspaper's payroll. The cynical, rapid-fire dialogue gives it an edge and an authenticity that's almost impossible to recapture these days and, needless to say, became one of the key elements in this type of film.

The film features a number of good scenes but the highlights would have to be: the split-screen technique introduced to shut out the former convict, who is now being hounded by "The Gazette", from having a conversation with either the owner of the paper or its news editor (Robinson); the lengthy and heart-breaking scene in which the female ex-convict's husband (played by the ever-reliable H.B. Warner) bids farewell to their daughter and her soon-to-be husband without letting them in on the fact that the woman has committed suicide and that he intends to join her soon after; the hysterical tirade at the end by the daughter when she finally confronts the men who have destroyed her life, a brave tour-de-force moment for Marian Marsh (familiar to horror aficionados from SVENGALI [1931], THE MAD GENIUS [1931] and THE BLACK ROOM [1935]) who had so far only rather blandly served the romantic interest of the plot; the final shot of the picture, with the latest issue of "The Gazette" being swept into the gutter by street-cleaners along with the rest of the garbage, thus leaving no doubt whatsoever as to where the film-makers' true sentiments lay.


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