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Five Star Final (1931)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama | 26 September 1931 (USA)
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1:55 | Trailer
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:

IT CRASHES THROUGH to the LOFTIEST HEIGHTS EVER REACHED by the MOST IMMORTAL GENIUS OF SCREEN or STAGE..! (Print ad- New York Sun, ((New York NY)) 11 September 1931) 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

In "Lux Video Theatre" (1950) {Five Star Final (#5.12)}, Mae Clarke (I), best known for playing the prostitute in the famous "grapefruit scene" with James Cagney in The Public Enemy (1931), played Nancy Voorhees Townsend. Joanne Woodward (I), then only 24, played her daughter Jenny. See more »

Goofs

After Randall returns to his office from the bar, he has his hat on and keeps it on when talking to Hinchcliff and Isapod when at his desk. He later moves to the couch and isn't wearing his hat. See more »

Quotes

Arthur Goldberg: Sufferin' Moses, but Mr. Randall's got a lot of women!
Miss Taylor: They're goyem. Ain't you got no religion?
Arthur Goldberg: Either way you say that, I ought to change my name.
Miss Taylor: Don't do it, kid. New York's too full of Christians as it is!
See more »

Connections

Remade as Two Against the World (1936) 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

 
Deadlier Than The Tommy Gun
2 March 2009 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Five Star Final according to Edward G. Robinson in his memoirs was a favorite role for him. He enjoyed having to go through a film without once taking up a weapon. But Robinson did have a weapon at his disposal here, one deadlier than the tommy gun. The power of yellow journalism to ruin and destroy lives for the sake of circulation.

Circulation is down at the New York Graphic, the sleazy tabloid where Robinson is the hardboiled editor. Publisher Oscar Apfel decides to rake over a 20 year old murder, one of those where are they now pieces. A woman killed a man who got her pregnant and refused to marry her and another man stepped up to the plate and raised her baby girl as his own. The couple, H.B. Warner and Frances Starr have lived quietly and anonymously on the west side of Manhattan the daughter, Marian Marsh is about to marry Anthony Bushell the son of a manufacturer.

The poking and prying of Robinson's reporters results in tragedy. It also gives Robinson a severe attack of conscience, encouraged by his girl Friday, Aline McMahon.

Stealing the film in the small part he's in is Boris Karloff as disgraced seminarian who affects the guise of clergyman to get the story he's after. It's one of Karloff's best non-horror film roles, he's positively creepy in the part.

The reason for Karloff's disgrace is sexual one and getting Karloff's mojo going as well is Ona Munson who also has a great part as the Nellie Bly of the tabloids. She tops Karloff in what she'll do for a story.

Five Star Final is a hard hitting well acted drama that does tend to go a bit overboard into melodrama, especially when H.B. Warner and Frances Stark are on screen. It was nominated for Best Picture of the year, but lost to the immortal classic Grand Hotel. It was later remade five years later as Two Against The World with Humphrey Bogart taking the Robinson part and the locale changed from a newspaper to a radio station.

I can easily see Five Star Final being remade for this century with the protagonist being the owner/operator of an internet website. The media may have changed, but sleaze is still sleaze.


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