Review: ‘Five Star Final’

Playwright Louis Weitzenkorn's strong argument against the scandal type of tabloid newspaper makes a strong talker.

Playwright Louis Weitzenkorn’s strong argument against the scandal type of tabloid newspaper makes a strong talker.

Edward G. Robinson means a lot to this entertainment. He represents the margin between Weitzenkorn’s story on the stage and on the screen. The picture version had a head start with its unrestricted area foundation, but it needed someone like Robinson as the managing editor.

H.B. Warner and Frances Starr have a suicide scene that could have been botched very easily. But they play it. The experience in back of both stands up and gives its right age in this picture.

A bit of symbolism inserted in the picture is, for once, a help. The editor is given the habit of washing his hands often at the basin in his office. His first washing occurs during his introduction in a speak. Thereafter, as the job gets dirtier, he repeats the soap stunt more often. When Robinson finally washes his hands of the job, he does it with soap and water.

After the yellow tab, for circulation purposes, has caused two suicides by reviving a 20-year-old murder case, the picture starts to move speedily. The daughter of the unfortunate parents goes to the newspaper with a gun in her bag to ask ‘Why did you kill my mother?’

Marian Marsh is as strong as the rest in the payoff scene. She stands with Georgie Stone, Warner, Starr and Robinson as punch members of the cast.

1931/32: Nomination: Best Picture

Five Star Final


First National. Director Mervyn LeRoy; Screenplay Byron Morgan, Robert Lord; Camera Sol Polito; Editor Frank Ware; Music Leo Forbstein (dir.); Art Director Jack Okey


(B&W) Extract of a review from 1931. Running time: 85 MIN.


Edward G. Robinson Marian Marsh H.B. Warner Anthony Bushell George E. Stone Boris Karloff
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  1. USAFmedicVET says:

    The climactic scene when Jenny Townsend delivers her scathing discourse to the media men who ruined her life without a second thought, is Outstanding and bears every resemblance to today’s media.

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