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FIVE STAR FINAL (1931)


Arkadin
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"Mr. Hinchcliff, why did you kill my mother..You can do anything can't you? I read your newspaper. It solves everything. It tells the President of the United States how to stop war. It tells women how to raise babies. It tells us to shorten our skirts or bob our hair or lengthen both. Well you omnipotent coward, raise my mother and father from the dead."

 

"Five Star Final" is fantastic. Here's some notes I jotted down as I was stunned by this film.

 

*This film was quite frank for 1931 (pre-code, of course). They mention illegitimate children.

*There's a shot breast high of Ona Munson as she talks to secretary Aline MacMahon about a job interview; MacMahon says: "You'll get the job alright!"

* An exchange between a cub reporter and MacMahon:

(Reporter): "When's the boss gonna put me on the street?"

(MacMahon): "What do you think you are... a woman?" MacMahon also tells him NOT to change his last name: "New York's full of Christians as it is."

* George E. Stone tries to negotiate a taxi cab race up Manhattan and says "I'm gonna let an Irishman, a Jew and a **** win." It was shockingly wonderful to me to hear this.

*Edward G.'s manic MacBethian habit of washing his hands after every vile thing he did to spin and sell this story.

* The parents' acting style did feel kind of hokey and D.W.Griffith-ish. When mom tries to kill the story she's coldly & cruelly ignored. Loved the split screen effect during her phone call to the newspaper.

* Finding his dead wife and then pretending she's still alive so as not to upset their daughter's on her wedding day. Heart-wrenching.

*Taking photos of the suicide victims. Disgustingly sordid.

*The boyfriend in a 'David Manners' type role tries to defend the girl he wants to marry against his folks. He tells Mom: "I think you're the coldest, most brutal woman I've ever seen." The smack his dad gave him seemed real if you ask me!

*Exchange between EddieG. and bosses: "For two cents I'd smash your face in." "You'd do anything for two cents," says Edward G.

 

Melodramatic, sordid, overwrought, zealous and frank..."Five Star Final" is a wonderful film and totally relevant. I'm no big fan of celebutantes like Paris Hilton, or of starlets like Lindsay Lohan or Britney Spears, but I think Aline MacMahon's character summed up the press' position eloquently when she said:

"I think you can always get people interested in the crucifixion of a woman." Sad but true.

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I agree that it was an enjoyable movie.

 

The only problem I had is that I'd already seen the remake, Humphrey Bogart's Two Against the World (aka One Fatal Hour), so I knew what was going to happen. :-)

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