Reviewed byccthemovieman-1Vote: 9/10/10
This is one of the best "trial movies" ever made. It's an outstandingfilm that is just as good today as it was almost 50 years ago when itwas released in the theaters. The shocking ending caused quite a stirback then, too.
The only part of the movie I thought looked dated and unrealistic wasTyrone Power's character being able to interrupt the trial withoutbursts and not be reprimanded for it. There is no way that would betolerated, at least today.
Otherwise, it's a pretty solid film with a good cast that includes twofascinating characters played by actors who know how to entertain:Charles Laughton and Marlene Dietrich.
Laughton, who plays Power's defense attorney, grabs the spotlight inthe story but Dietrich almost steals the movie in her role as Power'swife. Laughton's dialog is terrific throughout, bringing a number oflaughs to this serious film. He's just a joy to watch. Dietrich is evenmore riveting but just doesn't have anywhere near the same amount ofscreen time as Laughton.
Not to be overlooked is Elsa Lanchester, playing Laughton's nurse. She,too, demonstrates her comedic talent and significantly adds to the funof watching this film.
If you like some fine drama, storyline twists, a little humor thrown inand great acting and dialog, this is a classic film to check out.
Reviewed bybkoganbingVote: 9/10/10
In a recent biography of Billy Wilder, Agatha Christie is quoted assaying that this was the best adaption of her work ever done on thescreen. I can't praise Witness for the Prosecution any higher thanthat.
Tyrone Power in his farewell film plays Leonard Vole who befriends adotty old widow played by Norma Varden. She even rewrites her willleaving him the bulk of a very large estate. When she's murdered,Scotland Yard arrests Power.
Power's solicitor Henry Daniell retains a dream team for defense ofJohn Williams and the recently recovered Charles Laughton. Laughton isrecovering from a heart attack and against medical advice plunges intothe case. Laughton also has to deal with the efforts of his assignednurse Elsa Lanchester to keep him following doctor's advice.
The original play this was taken from concentrated completely on thePower character and the machinations of his wife. Wilder built up thecharacter of the nurse and barrister Sir Wilfred Robards so that theyalmost equaled the screen time of Mr. and Mrs. Vole. So much so thatCharles Laughton was nominated for an Academy Award in 1957, but lostto Alec Guinness.
Marlene Dietrich plays Mrs. Vole. She's a war bride over from Germanyand she's got her own agenda going. Her performance and what hercharacter does is the key to the whole film. Dietrich probably wouldhave gotten an Oscar nomination herself, but due to the fact that ifher performance was hyped up for Academy consideration, the element ofsurprise would have been lost in the film. Wilder in fact apologized toMarlene for that.
The Anglo-Saxon legal system's goal is justice. Justice is servedthough not quite in the way it usually is in Witness for theProsecution.
Reviewed byWill Thomas (email@example.com)Vote: 9/10/10
To see "Witness for the Prosecution" for the first time in 2008 is ajolting surprise. Nobody could do it better than Billy Wilder did in1957. A man accused of murder, Tyrone Power, the weakest link in thisterrific chain. Sir Wilfred is called to defend him, he is played bythe extraordinary Charles Laughton, but he's just out of hospital - hewasn't dismissed he was expelled - and due to doctor's orders he's notto take any criminal cases. He finds Power charming and personableenough but he's not going to risk his life to save his until MarleneDietrich makes her entrance - and what an entrance! How marvelous thatwhat amounts to a bit of Agatha Christie's usual fare becomes such anentertaining and at times right down riveting piece of film-making.
It's Britain, 1953. Upon his return to work following a heart attack, irrepressible barrister Sir Wilfrid Robarts, known as a barrister for the hopeless, takes on a murder case, much to the exasperation of his medical team, led by his overly regulated private nurse, Miss Plimsoll, who tries her hardest to ensure that he not return to his hard living ways - including excessive cigar smoking and drinking - while he takes his medication and gets his much needed rest. That case is defending American war veteran Leonard Vole, a poor, out of work, struggling inventor who is accused of murdering his fifty-six year old lonely and wealthy widowed acquaintance, Emily French. The initial evidence is circumstantial but points to Leonard as the murderer. Despite being happily married to East German former beer hall performer Christine Vole, he fostered that friendship with Mrs. French in the hopes that she would finance one of his many inventions to the tune of a few hundred pounds. It thus does ...