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Review of Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

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I'm not one for older movie but I caught this one late last night, and noticed a resemblance to A Time To Kill(One of my favorite movies). That and I like Jimmy Stewart I felt I had to watch it. This is one of Jimmy Stewart's best performances. He plays Paul Beigler, a small-town lawyer who defends a man on a charge that he murdered a man whom his wife accused of having raped her. Stewart leaves his stutter and naively cheerful personality behind to create a believable character who is to be taken seriously, although we wind up knowing very little about him personally. Lee Remick plays Laura Manion, the woman making the rape charge. Laura is very beautyful in this movie and very flirtacious. That she should come on to Beigler, a man a generation older and the defense lawyer for her husband, I found funny. It is good to see a young George C. Scott turn in an Oscar-nominated performance as one of the prosecuting attorneys. And Joseph N. Welch, who plays the judge, is one of the highlights. There is a subplot concerning Paul and his older lawyer friend Parnell Emmett McCarthy (Arthur O'Connell). Parnell seems to have a lot of regrets about his career and sees Beigler as a representation of what he was before he took some wrong turns, one such being a turn toward drink. But Paul induces Parnell to become involved with the case and Parnell is transformed by being wanted and being able to contribute. I found this little commentary on how important it is to be valued to be moving and true. I suppose the detailed discussion of the rape was sensational at the time, but that aspect of the film will be lost on contemporary audiences. I doubt that the thought of this being in any way controversial in the context of being sexually explicit would even occur to a younger audience. To summarize, "Anatomy of a Murder" is a fine, entertaining, and riveting courtroom drama with superb acting, fine direction, suspenseful moments, and a great music score.
Added by sux2bu
7 years ago on 18 March 2011 20:29

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