the fresh films reviews

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Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

Directed by:
Billy Wilder
COUNTRY
USA

GENRE
Legal mystery/Thriller

NORWEGIAN TITLE
Anklagerens vitne

RUNNING TIME
116 minutes

Produced by:
Arthur Hornblow Jr.

Written by ("The Witness for the Prosecution" by Agatha Christie):
Larry Marcus
Billy Wilder
Harry Kurnitz


Cast includes:

CHARACTER ACTOR/ACTRESS RATING
Leonard Vole Tyrone Power
Christine Vole/Helm Marlene Dietrich
Sir Wilfrid Roberts Charles Laughton
Miss Plimsoll Elsa Lanchester
Mr. Brogan-Moore John Williams
Mr. Mayhew Henry Daniell -
H. A. Carter Ian Wolfe -
Mr. Myers Torin Thatcher -
Mrs. Emily Jane French Norma Varden -
Janet McKenzie Una O'Connor
Mr. Justice Wainwright Francis Compton
Chief Inspector Hearne Philip Tonge -
Diana Ruta Lee -

 

Review

This clever and remarkably entertaining courtroom drama is quite possible the best big-screen adaptation of any Agatha Christie story. The film stars an obesely overweight and delightfully arrogant Charles Laughton as an expert defence barrister who takes on a seemingly impossible case of defending a good-natured American man (Tyrone Power) in a murder case full of circumstantial evidence including the statement of his wife Christine (Marlene Dietrich), which may or may not implicate him. Fans of crackerjack writing will be treated to plenty of intellectual banter and delightful twists, right up until the very end. Crisp black-and-white cinematography by Russell Harlan and skilful narrative pacing courtesy of veteran director Billy Wilder (Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard) make the movie a feast for eyes and mind despite a very limited number of locations. Laughton is superb as the lethargic and acerbic but very much principled Sir Wilfrid. This was Tyrone Power's last fully completed film before his sudden death in Madrid a year after its release.

Copyright 19.12.2023 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang

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