Five Star Final (1931)
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as Joseph Randall
as Jenny Townsend
as Michael Townsend
as Phillip Weeks
as Ziggie Feinstein
as Nancy Voorhees Townsend
as Kitty Carmody
as `Reverend' Vernon Isopod
as Miss Taylor
as Miss Edwards
as Mrs. Weeks
as Mrs. Weeks
as Arthur Goldberg
as Telephone Operator
Critic Reviews for Five Star Final
Mervyn LeRoy directed, doing a lot better with the newspaper chatter than with the long stretches of melodrama.
This early entry in the Warner 'social protest' cycle hasn't worn nearly so well as Hecht-Milestone's much less solemn and self-righteous The Front Page.
This is an offbeat but fascinating film which pillories the transgressions of the muckraking tabloids so popular in the 1920s.
Audience Reviews for Five Star Final
Five Star Final (Mervyn LeRoy, 1931) If you're a fan of Edward G. Robinson's (and if you're not, you should be), you've gotta get your hands on this ridiculously over-the-top melodrama, made very early in Mervyn LeRoy's career and nominated for the best Picture Oscar in 1932 (it lost, and deservedly, to Grand Hotel). Robinson plays Randall, the newly-installed editor of a New York tabloid who wants to turn the paper in a more traditional direction, so he assigns muckraker Vern Isipod (Boris Karloff) to the society pages. You can see where this could go wrong, and indeed it does, in record time, with Isipod attempting to dig up dirt on a socialite in order to prevent her upcoming society marriageÃ¢"and in the process causing her family irreperable harm. There is much scenery-chewing from everyone involved, an inspid script delivered with great gusto by the cast, and that still-early-in-the-world-of-talkies overexpression rampant. It's ridculous fun. ***
A great performance by Robinson and a scathing hatchet job of sensationalistic media. When a newspaper decides to increase circulation by re-serialising a long dead passion-killer case; the acquited defendant finds her life being turned upside down again on the eve of her daughter's wedding. With film adaptations of stage plays, you rarely see any filmmaking qualities other than point and shoot. But here, there are quite a few tracking shots, including one following a suicide attempt using silhouettes and fades, that are impressive anyway. Doubly so for a 1931 shoot. A great lesson to be learned to anyone who allows for the manipulation of their morality by a media who merely seeks their dollar.
Outstanding melodrama about the cold and heartless newspaper industry, and it is amazing how little things have changed with the press in eighty years. As always, Edward G. Robinson is terrific, Aline MacMahon stand out in a supporting role, as does H.B. Warner and Boris Karloff. It's a heart wrenchings story, skillfully told with solid direction from Mervyn LeRoy. A gem of a film with vivid characterizations and a skillfully written screenplay.
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