The Finger Points

  • 1931
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Crime

A hard-hitting early gangster talkie, THE FINGER POINTS is lifted wholly out of the headlines of the day. Barthelmess is a young southern reporter who goes to work for a big city newspaper and is given a crime beat. He is contacted to suppress a story about bigshot gangster Gable and, where his co-workers laugh at the idea, he seriously entertains the "hush...read more

Where to Watch

Available to Stream

  • Watch on
Rating:

A hard-hitting early gangster talkie, THE FINGER POINTS is lifted wholly out of the headlines of the day. Barthelmess is a young southern reporter who goes to work for a big city newspaper and is given a crime beat. He is contacted to suppress a story about bigshot gangster Gable and,

where his co-workers laugh at the idea, he seriously entertains the "hush money" offered him. He soon succumbs to the gangland bribes which make him rich far beyond his $35-a-week salary. Girl reporter Wray, in love with Barthelmess, begs him to give up the "blood money" but the young reporter is

now a hardened, cynical type and can't turn down the heavy cash Gable funnels to him for continued suppression of news stories concerning his crime cartel. When Gable orders two rival gangsters murdered, the story gets past Barthelmess, despite Gable's instructions to "bury it." The published

story brings police "heat" down on Gable and his minions and the crime czar reacts in a frenzy, believing Barthelmess has betrayed him. He "fingers" the young reporter for his hired killers and Barthelmess is gunned down by machine-gunners. The film blatantly profiles the murder of real-life

Chicago Tribune reporter Alfred "Jake" Lingle, venal newsman on Al Capone's payroll, murdered on June 9, 1930, at Scarface's orders, after leaking information on Capone operations to rival gangster George "Bugs" Moran. Barthelmess, of course, is Lingle and Gable is Capone in the film. Gable was

borrowed from MGM for this uncompromising gangster opus and he is convincing as the brutal crime boss. Barthelmess was a silent screen star who had peaked in D.W. Griffith's WAY DOWN EAST (1920). His career slid downward as the talkie era deepened due to his mannerisms of acting style that dated

him and a voice delivery that always seemed unsure of whether he was responding to verbal cues or title cards as used in the silent movies. His last important part would be, ironically, as a washed-up pilot in Howard Hawks' ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS (1939). THE FINGER POINTS was produced in the

fashion of LITTLE CAESAR (1930), which is no surprise since one of its scriptwriters, W.R. Burnett, was the author of that landmark gangster book and film, a Chicago scribe who knew well the Lingle-Capone story.

Cast & Details See all »

  • Rating: NR
  • Review: A hard-hitting early gangster talkie, THE FINGER POINTS is lifted wholly out of the headlines of the day. Barthelmess is a young southern reporter who goes to work for a big city newspaper and is given a crime beat. He is contacted to suppress a story abou… (more)

Show More »