Friday, March 1, 2013

Five Star Final (1931)

WHO: Edward G. Robinson stars in this. He's something to behold.

WHAT: I wrote about this film for Senses of Cinema nearly ten years ago. Allow me to quote myself (although I might like to make a few modifications in word choice, I won't):
Five Star Final is perhaps the darkest in the cycle of journalist-themed films produced in Hollywood during the early 1930s. The central character, a self-destructive tabloid newspaper editor named Randall (Edward G. Robinson), manufactures so much enthusiasm for an assignment to dredge up the Nancy Voorhees case for a sure-fire hit serial that he destroys her in the process.  
WHERE/WHEN: 8PM tonight only at the Roxie.

WHY: Five Star Final and its double-bill-mate Blood Money from 1933 kick off a week-long series of early-1930s features that the Roxie is entitling Hollywood Before The Code: Deeper, Darker, Nastier!! Dennis Harvey has crafted a typically helpful overview of the "Pre-Code" concept and the series, highlighting some of its best titles like Josef Von Sternberg's Shanghai Express and William Wellman's Safe In Hell, but he doesn't mention Five Star Final. If ink-stained wretchedness appeals to you as a cinematic topic (and why wouldn't it?), don't miss it!

HOW: Five Star Final is a digital screening, and Blood Money screens on 16mm. The rest of the series uses about half 35mm sources, half digital; all formats are listed on the series website.


  1. Aline MacMahon, one of my favorite actresses, made her debut in "Five Star Final."
    In "Blood Money," which was shown from time to time by one of my mentors, Bill Everson, you can actually see a sexy version of the usually
    chilling Judith Anderson, and Frances Dee in one
    of old Hollywood's few explicit depictions of a

  2. MacMahon is great in this too, matching Robinson at every turn as his "conscience".

    Got quite a kick out of Blood Money. Dee's character is unbelievable!

    1. Brian: If you haven't seen Heat Lightning, also LeRoy, in the series, it's a must,
      Aline stars and though she wasn't considered a physical beauty has a glorious scene
      where she lets her hair down and tries to look more attractive.

    2. I'll definitely make a point of seeing it, if not on Thursday then on DVD at some future time. Thanks for the tip!