Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Adapted from the stage play by former newspaperman Louis Weitzenkorn, Five Star Final is an uncompromising look at the consequences of journalistic irresponsibility. Hounded by his publishers to pep up circulation with a sensational story, newspaper editor Edward G. Robinson decides to revive public interest in a long-ago murder case. He discovers that a woman (Sally Starr) who'd shot her lover nearly three decades earlier is now living under a new name and is married to a pillar of society (H.B. Warner). The woman's daughter (Marian Marsh) is just about to marry the son (Anthony Bushell) of another wealthy couple. Robinson sends one of his slimier reporters (Boris Karloff), a onetime divinical student who'd been expelled for sexual misconduct, to visit the woman and secure a photograph. The underhanded reporter disguises himself as the clergyman who will officiate at the wedding, worms his way into the family's confidence, and appropriates the photo. When the story hits the papers, the woman desperately tries to call Robinson and ask him to cease and desist, but Robinson is unmoved. The disgraced woman commits suicide, as does her husband a few moments later. The groom's parents snobbishly try to call off the wedding, but the groom stands by his fiancee's side and is disinherited. The grief-maddened daughter breaks into Robinson's office with a gun, threatening to kill him for ruining her mother. She is calmed down by her fiance, who warns Robinson that he himself will come back for revenge if the newspaper ever mentions the dead woman's name again. Five Star Final was remade in 1936 as Two Against the World, this time set in a radio station instead of a newspaper office.
reporter, yellow-journalism, disguise, editor, groom [bridegroom], irresponsibility, newspaper, suicide, wedding, woman