Five Star Final

Overview

Adapted from the stage play by former newspaperman Louis Weitzenkorn, Five Star Final is an uncompromising look at the consequences of journalistic irresponsibility. Hounded by his publishers to pep up circulation with a sensational story, newspaper editor Edward G. Robinson decides to revive public interest in a long-ago murder case. He discovers that a woman Sally Starr who'd shot her lover nearly three decades earlier is now living under a new name and is married to a pillar of society H.B. Warner. The woman's...
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Overview

Adapted from the stage play by former newspaperman Louis Weitzenkorn, Five Star Final is an uncompromising look at the consequences of journalistic irresponsibility. Hounded by his publishers to pep up circulation with a sensational story, newspaper editor Edward G. Robinson decides to revive public interest in a long-ago murder case. He discovers that a woman Sally Starr who'd shot her lover nearly three decades earlier is now living under a new name and is married to a pillar of society H.B. Warner. The woman's daughter Marian Marsh is just about to marry the son Anthony Bushell of another wealthy couple. Robinson sends one of his slimier reporters Boris Karloff, a onetime divinical student who'd been expelled for sexual misconduct, to visit the woman and secure a photograph. The underhanded reporter disguises himself as the clergyman who will officiate at the wedding, worms his way into the family's confidence, and appropriates the photo. When the story hits the papers, the woman desperately tries to call Robinson and ask him to cease and desist, but Robinson is unmoved. The disgraced woman commits suicide, as does her husband a few moments later. The groom's parents snobbishly try to call off the wedding, but the groom stands by his fiancee's side and is disinherited. The grief-maddened daughter breaks into Robinson's office with a gun, threatening to kill him for ruining her mother. She is calmed down by her fiance, who warns Robinson that he himself will come back for revenge if the newspaper ever mentions the dead woman's name again. Five Star Final was remade in 1936 as Two Against the World, this time set in a radio station instead of a newspaper office.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
In 1931, at the dawn of the era of sound motion pictures, many of the standards for film genres were set. Nominated for an Oscar as the year's best film, Five Star Final was the prototypical newspaper movie which was widely imitated in the 1930s and 1940s. It features many of the aspects of such films that would later become cliches, including a hard-bitten newspaper editor (played by Edward G. Robinson), an unscrupulous reporter (played by the great villain Boris Karloff) and a cast of crusty journalists and outraged citizens. It's a thorough condemnation of yellow journalism and sets forth the same kind of tensions and themes that many decades later could be found in such newspaper films as All the President's Men and Absence of Malice. Like all such films, there is redemption in exposing hypocrisy and pursuing truth. Prolific director Mervyn LeRoy was at the helm. Five years later, the plot was recycled, with the setting shifted to a radio station, in Two Against the World, starring Humphrey Bogart.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/22/2010
  • UPC: 883316256633
  • Original Release: 1931
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Archives
  • Presentation: Remastered / B&W / Full Frame
  • Time: 1:29:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 40,923

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Edward G. Robinson Joseph Randall
Marian Marsh Jenny Townsend
H.B. Warner Michael Townsend
Anthony Bushell Phillip Weeks
George E. Stone Ziggie Feinstein
Boris Karloff "Reverend" Vernon Isopod
Frances Starr Nancy Voorhees Townsend
Ona Munson Kitty Carmody
Robert Elliott Brannegan
Oscar Apfel Bernard Hinchecliffe
Purnell Pratt Robert French
Aline MacMahon Miss Taylor
Gladys Lloyd Miss Edwards
Harold Waldridge Arthur Goldberg
Evelyn Hall Mrs. Weeks
David Torrence Weeks
Polly Walters Telephone Operator
James Donlan Reporter
Frank Darien Schwartz
Technical Credits
Mervyn LeRoy Director
Leo F. Forbstein Musical Direction/Supervision
Robert Lord Screenwriter
Earl Luick Costumes/Costume Designer
Byron Morgan Screenwriter
Jack Okey Art Director
Sol Polito Cinematographer
Frank Ware Editor
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