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The Star Witness

Veteran William Wellman directed this pre-Code thriller that puts an average New York family at odds with a pack of ruthless gangsters. It’s a 1931 tale of drive-by shootings, witness intimidation and child kidnapping — just one year later, movies about child kidnappings were banned, after the tragedy of the Lindbergh baby. Walter Huston is the rather ruthless District Attorney, and the ex-vaudeville funny man Chic Sale plays an old codger that shows his family what Good Americanism really means — the show could serve as a surly critique of what passes for law and order and good citizenship now.

The Star Witness

DVD

The Warner Archive Collection

1931 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 68 min. / Street Date March 12, 2019 / available through the WBshop / 19.99

Starring: Walter Huston, Charles ‘Chic’ Sale, Frances Starr, Grant Mitchell, Sally Blane, Edward J. Nugent, Dickie Moore, Nat Pendleton, George Ernest, Russell Hopton, Allan Lane.

Cinematography: James Van Trees

Film Editor:

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