Anatomy Of A Murder


(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

Academy Awards 1959

Golden Globe Awards 1959



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s