7.3/10
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Five Star Final (1931)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama | 26 September 1931 (USA)
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1:54 | Trailer

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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

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

Eddie G. is finished pointing at Boris Karloff, who departs and tells the blonde to "get me that address". Then he places his left index upon his lips and starts pondering. His right hand is supporting his bent left arm. Picture cuts to the next frame in a long shot where Edward looks at his secretary, and he is now in reverse position, his right hand upon his lips and his left hand in his pocket. 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

Referenced in Casablanca (1942) See more »

Soundtracks

Let Me Call You Sweetheart
(1910) (uncredited)
Music by Leo Friedman
Played on the phonograph
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Some great dialogue, some strongly emotional acting
22 May 2009 | by morrisonhimselfSee all my reviews

Contra Jesse Jackson, there are too many Christians in New York – but apparently not in the newspaper business.

One can take this movie as a parable, only slightly exaggerated perhaps, of the entire "news" media.

Although some of the dialogue is somewhat corny, by today's standards, anyway, much of the rest is chilling, or infuriating, or heart-breaking, by turns.

Aline MacMahon, whose character told the messenger boy not to change his name, and followed with the line in the first paragraph, has one of her best roles, and she is terrific.

Edward G. Robinson, as the managing editor, tells her she is the visible conscience, and he brings powerful emotion to his role.

Marian Marsh has the movie-stealing scene, one of power and heartbreak and possibly her best performance in her three-decades-long career. You'll find her character justified even while you're urging her not to do what she threatens.

There is a generally superb cast, including Boris Karloff, whose playing is – as usual – often over the top, but in his last scene, without words, he makes one wonderful move that deserves applause.

Taken to task for a story that has given tabloid-sized "news" papers their tawdry reputation, and, in fact, made the very word "tabloid" a synonym for that kind of garbage, the publisher tries to say that papers transcend the individual.

In other words, phooey on individuals; we want to boost circulation no matter who, or what, gets hurt.

In truth, such publications, and, in fact, all the so-called mainstream "news" media have been all too willing to stomp on individuals and, in fact, on the entire country, in order to have a scoop, a ratings coup, or a jump in circulation.

Granted, most wouldn't have stooped to quite the low of the paper in this story, but the ultimate end is not much different.

It's been not quite 80 years since "Five Star Final," and daily papers are dying like the proverbial flies, all over the country – and many people are just nodding and saying "about time."

Remember the period and the context, and pay close attention to "Five Star Final." It has something to say, and says it extremely well.


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