I Watched… (#7)

31 Mar


Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

This classic courtroom drama has interested me for a while now as it has James Stewart starring in it, one of my all-time favourite actors. He plays a semi-retired lawyer who just loves fishing; he returns to court to defend a man (Ben Gazzara), who murdered a bar owner who supposedly raped his wife, with the plea of temporary insanity or ‘irresistible impulse’.

The long runtime flies by in this gripping trial film where there are no flashbacks of the crime and it is up to the viewer to imagine what really happened based on the court case. This allows a certain sense of mystery to pervade throughout the film and heightens the tense oratory battles taking place between Jimmy Stewart and the equally brilliant George C. Scott, who is the prosecutor. The role of the seductive and rather wild wife of the defendant is brilliant played by Lee Remick as she provides a distraction for both the viewer and the characters in the film.

Well adapted from the original source, a book of the same name, this is one of the greatest trial films ever made and another film that simply increases my admiration for the late James Stewart and the director Otto Preminger. It may feel a bit dated in parts but a film such as this is timeless as well as immensely enjoyable.



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