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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.

Director:

William A. Wellman

Writers:

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

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Walter Huston ... District Attorney Whitlock
Frances Starr ... Ma Leeds
Grant Mitchell ... Pa Leeds
Sally Blane ... Sue Leeds
Ralph Ince ... 'Maxey' Campo
Edward J. Nugent ... Jackie Leeds
Dickie Moore ... Ned Leeds
Nat Pendleton ... Big Jack
George Ernest ... Donny Leeds
Russell Hopton ... Deputy Thorpe
Charles 'Chic' Sale ... Pvt. Summerill
Edit

Storyline

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) »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

TV-G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

22 August 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Star Witness See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"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 the families of the children who were shot during gang warfare in Little Italy. See more »

Goofs

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

Connections

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

Soundtracks

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

 
Interesting film that points up the need to sometimes face temporary personal risk in return for the greater good
30 October 2000 | by Robert ReynoldsSee all my reviews

This film, an early William Wellman, has an important message, particularly today. It posits the notion that sometimes there are things more important than your own personal safty or well-being. The film, which has Walter Huston as the lead, is stolen by the performance of "Chic" Sales as Grampa. He's the most completely drawn character in the film and a joy to watch. You'll recognize some familiar faces if you watch many movies from the '20's and '30's. Wel worh your time to watch if you get the opportunity. Recommended.


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