the fresh films reviews

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Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

Directed by:
Otto Preminger
En studie i mord
140 minutter
Produced by:
Otto Preminger
Written by based on the novel by Robert Traver:
Wendell Mayes

Cast includes:

Paul Biegler James Stewart
Laura Manion Lee Remick
Lt. Frederick Manion Ben Gazzara
Parnell Arthur O'Connell
Maita Rutledge Eve Arden
Asst. State Atty. Gen. Charles Dancer George C. Scott



This overwhelmingly thorough and slow courtroom drama is, embodied through Jimmy Stewart's gloriously suave performance, as stylish and classy as movies come. It starts off in the most refined fashion, letting us get to know the characters through a seemingly arbitrary look-in. Preminger unfolds his scenes is if he were Don Juan making love to a woman; gentle, firmly and with the greatest of confidence. He makes the slowest of build-ups turn out as one of the most appealing of build-ups, and the actors revel in the process. During the courtroom scenes, however, things sometimes run from smooth to somewhat quirky, and some scenes become a tad to frivolous (the laughing on the soundtrack should have being kept in a more low-key fashion) . But still, Anatomy of a Murder remains a well-balanced and highly interesting encounter with the American legal system of the fifties, and some very strongly portrayed characters in it. And exactly when you'd start to worry about the level of authenticity, the movie brings on George C. Scott in one of his first screen roles; a fantastic one at that. His cross-examining of witnesses even makes the close-up cameraman shiver. And his wonderful feud with Jimmy Stewart will forever stand as a great legacy to both.

Copyright 22.9.2004 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang [HAVE YOUR SAY]