Anatomy of a Murder Reviews
Brilliant - the greatest courtroom drama film ever made. The only similar movies that come close are To Kill A Mockingbird (1962) and Witness For The Prosecution (1957) and though while these have other great qualities neither matches Anatomy of a Murder for sheer courtroom realism and tension. (The TV mini series The Night Of also deserves a mention, I might add).
Directed by Otto Preminger (Laura, Exodus, The Man With The Golden Arm, In Harm's Way, among others), the movie holds your attention for every second of its 160-minute duration. Engaging, watertight plot with some clever legal twists and turns. Very realistic and edifying look into the justice system.
Add to this Preminger's superb direction. One of the reasons you can't look away is that Preminger wrings the maximum out of every scene and shot - great use of actor's body language and subtle little things that help the plot, mood and intrigue.
Completing it all is the nagging feeling that you aren't sure whether the accused is guilty or not. There's no good guys vs bad guys, just prosecution vs defense (like in real life). It's this ambiguity and mystery that make the movie so gritty and utterly compelling.
Anatomy of a Murder was nominated for seven Oscars in 1960, including for Best Picture, but won none. 1960 was the year of Ben Hur.
Side note: Oh, and a little tidbit: as a critic who notices the little things more than the big things, a man can be seen reading Leon Uris's Exodus. Exodus was Otto Preminger's next movie.
Viewed this on 26/11/15
A riveting masterpiece and one of the best courtroom dramas ever made and it reminds me why I love the genre so much. It's got flawless direction from Otto Preminger, a superb script with characters in a mystery that won't let you grab a hold of them, thus making it layered and unpredictable. James Stewart gives another fantastic performance and in a role that suits his age and he is equally complemented by two lawyers at his opposition played by George C Scott and Douglas Brooks West and although the latter may seem like a clown in the bunch, his acting is spontaneous and flawless. The film starts off in a very routine and average manner,that too purposefully and when the court room scenes arrive, it just mounts tension upon tension. Actress Lee Remick must also be given praise for her performance.
Stewart is a good touch stone for the movie as the lawyer. At first he seems washed up with drinking, girls and his cynicism, but then he changes to all seriousness when there is a chance to save a man from jail. He is supported by a strong cast, a beautiful Remick, Scott as the big lawyer, Welch as the unusual judge, O'Connell as the need to sober up assistant and the bartender whose name I do not recall.
Another review needed to be rewritten thanks to flixster messing up!