Anatomy of a Murder
 
         
   
Genre: Drama, Thriller and Adaptation
Running Time: 2 hrs. 40 min.
Release Date: July 1st 1959
MPAA Rating: R for violence and sexuality.
Director: Otto Preminger
Actors: James Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara, Arthur O'Connell, Eve Arden, George C. Scott
 
         
"The beauty of the plot is that the truth is insignificant next to how a lawyer can persuade a jury to his advantage."
   
 
             
 
Theatrical
10/10
 
DVD
N/A
 
Blu-ray
N/A
 
             
 
 

Produced and directed by Otto Preminger, Anatomy of a Murder is a riveting courtroom drama and murder mystery based on the novel by Robert Traver. Dissociative reaction, or a domination of the unconscious mind, sets up reasonable doubt as the film analyzes the anatomy of a deviously intriguing killing. With jazzy music by Duke Ellington, fascinating (but slightly dated) ideas and loopholes for right and wrong, superb dialogue and phenomenal acting, the entire film is a stunning success.

Fisherman by day, musician by night, lawyer when absolutely necessary, Philadelphia ex-prosecutor Paul Biegler (James Stewart) is asked to take up a very unique case. Barney Quill is shot to death by Lt. Frederick Manion (Ben Gazzara) after raping and beating Manion’s wife Laura (Lee Remick). Fred’s defense is a bout of insanity, brought on by blinding rage, a condition known as “Irresistible impulse”. Biegler isn’t quite the lawyer for the case, having little experience in defense and partially wondering whether he’s up to the challenge. The catch is that Frederick doesn’t command sympathy, he’s arrogant, cunning, and he waited about one hour after his wife told him what happened to go and kill Barney. In any court of law, that spells cold-blooded vengeful murder.
 
 
 

Anatomy of a Murder Movie James Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara, Arthur O'Connell, Eve Arden, George C. Scott

Anatomy of a Murder Movie James Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara, Arthur O'Connell, Eve Arden, George C. Scott

 

Anatomy of a Murder Movie James Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara, Arthur O'Connell, Eve Arden, George C. Scott

Anatomy of a Murder Movie James Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara, Arthur O'Connell, Eve Arden, George C. Scott

 
 

Drunkard counselor Parnell (Arthur O’Connell) aids Paul in gathering evidence, with hopes of being a real lawyer again - at least temporarily as a sort of sidekick. He’s part muse and part philosophical conversationist, but geared up for a battle of wills. Facts about the case get more elusive when Laura’s version doesn’t quite match up to other testimony (especially when a doctor examines her and doesn’t think she was raped), and gaps of lost memory creates suspicious holes in her story. But her lie detector test says she’s telling the truth.

Lee Remick exudes sexuality and mistrust with her tight sweaters and short skirts, a very level-headed, even-tempered judge presides over the madhouse courtroom, and Paul makes a quite effective, rambunctious show of the whole thing as he dukes it out with big city lawyer Claude Dancer (George C. Scott), who is specifically brought in for this high profile case. “I’m only concerned with a few facts…” says Paul as he interrogates Laura, who is dressed extra sexily and talking purposefully seductively. “Just answer the question… the attorneys will provide the wisecracks,” quips the judge.  Their exchanges, along with every other cast member, are so interesting that the pacing of the film never slows down, even though the runtime is nearly three hours long. The rapid-fire questions and answers are unbelievably entertaining, the details are absorbing and the conversations are masterfully scripted. The constant verbal jousting is darkly humorous like dialogue from classic film noir, allowing the plot to thicken intelligently and innovatively.

The field of battle is the courtroom. It’s a taut duel of quick-thinkers, each one distinctly deceptive, hilarious, calculating and creative. We get to see all sides of courtroom drama, including the antics, trickery, badgering, following of procedures, objections, definitions, statements, surprise witnesses, unexpected evidence and outcries – in fact, we see just about the whole trial, which keeps us in the loop and leaves no room for concerns. It’s incredibly complex but always understandable.  All of the facts are presented to the audience, but every bit of testimony is refuted by both sides until the actual events come down to one person’s word against another. The beauty of the plot is that the truth is insignificant next to how a lawyer can persuade a jury to his advantage – by the conclusion, the “real” truth is left painfully mystifying.

- Mike Massie
 
More Recent Reviews:
Elysium (2013)
We're the Millers (2013)
Two Guns (2 Guns) (2013)
Blue Jasmine (2013)
Wolverine, The (2013)

 

  Recommendations:






 

 

Georgina

Great article! The two of us honestly loved reading your post.

How soon do you add content? You are seriously motivating!

Leave a Comment




 

HOME MOVIE REVIEWSNEWS & FEATURES INTERVIEWS FREE MOVIE CLUB
IFCS SEARCH ABOUT

©2012 Gone With the Twins. All movie related images © their respective owners.
This site is for personal use only. Designed by Mike Massie.

free tracking