Anatomy of a Film

Otto Preminger made a terrible movie in 1959. It’s called Anatomy of a Murder. The plot has holes, the motivations of characters are non-existent, and it’s entirely too long. However, the photography in the film is beautiful, the acting is great and the music was composed by Duke Ellington.
The Duke even makes a cameo, playing four hands with Jimmy Stewart in one scene.

Jimmy Stewart plays a former district attorney who takes a case defending a man for murder. While the man is in prison, Jimmy has to deal with the man’s wife. This is her, interrupting Jimmy’s and Duke’s playing.

Played by Lee Remick, when Jimmy first meets her, she’s quite the seductress.

What you don’t see underneath those sunglasses is a black eye she got from a local bar owner who beat and raped her. Which is why her husband, a lieutenant in the army (played by Ben Gazzara), killed the man. So he’s on trial.

Jimmy has this man, Parnell Emmett McCarthy (Arthur O’Connell) to help him out. He’s not so great with laying off the booze.

And he has big city attorney up against him. A real shark, Assistant State Attorney General, Claude Dancer, played by (who else?!) George C. Scott.

Jimmy turns Laura Manion from a temptress into a respectable looking housewife.

But can he save her from Dancer?

Or will she crack under interrogation and send her husband to prison?

Can you do it, Jimmy?!


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