Witness for the Prosecution

A DVD review from The Movie Snob.

Witness for the Prosecution  (B+).  This 1957 classic was directed by Billy Wilder (Double Indemnity) and based on a short story and play by Agatha Christie.  Charles Laughton (The Hunchback of Notre Dame) stars as Sir Wilfrid Robarts, a celebrated London barrister with a knack for winning impossible cases.  While he is convalescing after a heart attack, just such a case shows up on his doorstep—a murder case against a charming WWII vet named Leonard Vole (Tyrone Power, Rawhide).  His icy German war bride Christine (Marlene Dietrich, Morocco) is his only alibi, but she seems to have a secret agenda of her own.  It felt like the murder trial itself took up about half the film’s 116-minute running time, but the trial scenes are well done, and my interest never flagged.  Definitely worth seeing, Witness for the Prosecution was nominated for six Oscars, including a best supporting actress nod for Elsa Lanchester (The Bride of Frankenstein) as Sir Wilfrid’s overbearing nurse.  The DVD’s extras include the movie’s trailer and some moderately interesting footage of interviews with Wilder about the movie.

4 comments on “Witness for the Prosecution

  1. […] They Live by Night (C). The back of the DVD case says it all: “Young, in love — and up to their necks in classic film-noir danger.” Bowie Bowers (Farley Granger, Strangers on a Train) is a 23-year-old convict. He busts out with two other hardcases, and while they’re lying low, he meets Keechie (Cathy O’Donnell, The Best Years of Our Lives), the young niece of one of the other cons. They fall in love, and for a while they manage to get by, keeping a low profile and living off the money Bowie saved from the threesome’s last bank heist. But his two buddies blow all their dough and need Bowie to help them pull another job, and this starts him on the dark, noirish road to his final destiny. Not as good as some of the other films in this film noir collection, but not terrible. Also features Ian Wolfe, who guest-starred in a couple of episodes of the original Star Trek series and also appeared in Witness for the Prosecution. […]

  2. […] tell you about a few classics that I saw for the first time this past year and really enjoyed.  Witness for the Prosecution, being a legal drama, goes to the head of the class here on The Movie Court.  I also saw and liked […]

  3. […] of her youth and to become the kept woman of the cold and wealthy Baron de Varville (Henry Daniell, Witness for the Prosecution). Then she meets the young and passionate Armand Duval (Robert Taylor, Ivanhoe), whose love finally […]

  4. […] from this 1939 Western starring Jimmy Stewart (Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation) and Marlene Dietrich (Witness for the Prosecution)—I had never heard anything about it and saw it pretty much on a whim.  But I must say that I […]

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