Anatomy Of A Murder

AnatomyOfAMurderposterBBBB

(out of 5)

Small-town lawyer  returns from a fishing trip to discover that he is required to defend a soldier who shot a bartender at the town’s local eatery. The defendant ( in one of his earliest roles) killed the murder victim because he allegedly raped his provocatively sexy wife (, also near the beginning of her career). Stewart’s legal office has been threadbare for a while, making it necessary for him to make the most of this case given the resources he has to work with, including alcoholic partner  and wisecracking secretary .  The line of defence he decides to take is temporary insanity, but what plays out both in and out of the courtroom is a searing examination of the nation’s attitude towards sex both consensual and non, the politics of women’s bodies and the American judicial system, all told with director Otto Preminger’s well-known penchant for frankness and honesty. The film’s dialogue includes references to “sperm”, “rape”, “climax” and other salacious topics that made it quite the hot-button ticket at the time of its release (Stewart’s own father took out an ad calling the film “dirty” and discouraging audiences from going to see it), but Preminger, who was always a storyteller first and an enfant terrible second, is never a sensationalist about the subject matter.


Otto Preminger Films

USA, 1959

Directed by

Screenplay by , based on the novel by

Cinematography by

Produced by Otto Preminger

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

The Criterion Collection


Academy Award Nominations
Best Actor (James Stewart as “Paul Biegler”)
Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Arthur O’Connell as “Parnell McCarthy”)
Best Actor in a Supporting Role (George C. Scott as “Claude Dancer”)
Best Cinematography (Black-and-White) (Sam Leavitt)
Best Film Editing (Louis R. Loeffler)
Best Motion Picture (Otto Preminger, producer)
Best Writing (Screenplay–based on material from another medium) (Wendell Mayes)

Golden Globe Award Nominations
Best Performance By An Actress in a Motion Picture-Drama (Lee Remick)
Best Motion Picture-Drama
Best Director (Otto Preminger)
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Joseph N. Welch

 


AnatomyOfAMurder

 

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