|THE STAR WITNESS (director: William A. Wellman; screenwriters: story by Lucien Hubbard & Bud Barsky/Lucien Hubbard; cinematographer: James Van Trees; editor: Harold McLernon; music: Alois Reiser; cast: Walter Huston (DA Whitlock), Chic Sale (Grandpa Summerville), Frances Starr (Ma Leeds), Grant Mitchell (Pa Leeds), Sally Blane (Sue Leeds), Edward J. Nugent (Jackie Leeds), Dickie Moore (Donny Leeds), Ralph Ince (Maxey Campo); Runtime: 68; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: ; Warner Bros.; 1931)|
|"Good performances keep things
by Dennis Schwartz
William A. Wellman ("The Hatchet
Man"/"Wings"/"Night Nurse") helms this effective crime
drama about a typical large American family who
witness a gangland slaying and are afraid the law
won't help them if they testify. It's written
by Lucian Hubbard and is based on his story that is
co-written with Bud Barsky. Good performances keep
things watchable. The popular film was remade in 1939
as The Man Who Dared.
gangster "Maxey" Campo (Ralph
Ince) murders two men in the
street. The Leeds' family (mother-Frances
Starr & father-Grant Mitchell),
from their apartment, witness the shooting. On the
street, Grandpa Summerville
(Chic Sale), a Civil War vet, is also a witness. He's
on a 48 hour pass from a soldier's home. The gang
kidnaps the youngest son of the family (Dickie Moore)
and they become too frightened to testify.
Huston is the anxious DA, who wants to protect
the witnesses and prosecute the ruthless thug.
The story was inspired by a real-life incident that took place in Harlem, where in a gang shooting several children were shot and no witnesses emerged.
REVIEWED ON 10/13/2015 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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