Anatomy of a Murder

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Anatomy of a Murder ★★★★ 1959

Considered by many to be the best courtroom drama ever made. Small-town lawyer in northern Michigan faces an explosive case as he defends an army officer who has killed a man he suspects was his philandering wife's rapist. Realistic, cynical portrayal of the court system isn't especially concerned with guilt or innocence, focusing instead on the interplay between the various courtroom characters. Classic performance by Stewart as the down home but brilliant defense lawyer who matches wits with Scott, the sophisticated prosecutor; terse and clever direction by Preminger. Though tame by today's standards, the language used in the courtroom was controversial. Filmed in upper Michigan; based on the bestseller by judge Robert Traver. 161m/B VHS, DVD . James Stewart, George C. Scott, Arthur O'Connell, Ben Gazzara, Lee Remick, Orson Bean, Eve Arden, Duke Ellington, Kathryn Grant, Murray Hamilton, Joseph Welch; D: Otto Preminger; W: Wendell Mayes; C: Sam Leavitt; M: Duke Ellington. N.Y. Film Critics '59: Actor (Stewart), Screenplay.