Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Movie of the Week – Witness for the Prosecution

This week’s movie: Witness for the Prosecution (1957).

The Agatha Christie play adaptation is about a murder trial, one that features surprise after surprise.

Witness for the Prosecution is considered to be one of writer-director Billy Wilder’s five best films, along with: Double Indemnity, Sunset Blvd., Some Like It Hot, and The Apartment (it is my favorite of his films, followed by Stalag 17 and Sabrina).

Wilder worked with composer Matty Malneck (one of the musician’s two film scores), cinematographer Russell Harlan (who also shot Red River, Rio Bravo, and To Kill a Mockingbird), and art director Alexander Trauner on the film.

It stars Charles Laughton (who is brilliant in it – really, it is worth watching this just for his performance), Tyrone Power (who I think is supposed to be British, but is American and decided against doing an accent), and Marlene Dietrich. Elsa Lanchester, John Williams, Henry Daniell, and Ian Wolfe feature in support.

The film was nominated for six Oscars, including Best Picture, but lost in all its categories (The Bridge on the River Kwai won that year). It is a must-see for fans of Billy Wilder’s work (one of the great American auteurs) and fans of wonderful courtroom dramas, as this is one of the most entertaining. It has so many twists and comedic moments that it ends up being very fun on top of the strong characters and drama.

Trailer: Here
Available on: DVD and Streaming

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