Anatomy of a Murder (1959) – Encore Review


“As a lawyer, I’ve had to learn that people aren’t just good or just bad. People are many things.” – Paul Biegler

Number of Times Seen – 3 (21 October 1999, 23 Jun 2013 and 20 Aug 2018)

Link to original reviewHere

Brief Synopsis – A former prosecuting attorney is hired to defend a man who murdered the man who raped his wife

My Take on it – This is a film that I loved from the very first time I saw it nearly two decades ago.

Director Otto Preminger manages to take a great story and present it to us nearly flawlessly.

He is able to keep things interesting the entire time which isn’t easy since this film is nearly 3 hours long.

Jimmy Stewart is superb in the lead role especially given the fact that he seems miscast in this kind of role.

The story itself seems quite simple based on today’s standards yet was very controversial when this was made 60 years ago.

This film discusses many aspects of the crime in grim and explicit detail which was quite shocking when it was made yet it handles it all quite professionally the entire time.

This film was very deserving of its 7 Oscar nominations that year including Best Picture even-though it didn’t manage to win any of them against Ben-Hur (1959).

The musical score by Duke Ellington is superb

Check it out here:

Bottom Line – Preminger does an amazing job with this story and manages to keep things interesting the entire time. Stewart seems miscast in the lead yet excels in such a role despite this fact. The story might seem simple based on today’s standards, but it was quite ahead of its time back then and was even controversial due to it’s frank discussion of many of the aspects of the trial. Very deserving of its 7 Oscar nomination including Best Picture that yera even if it didn’t manage to win any of them. The musical score is superb.  Definitely among the best courtroom drama films. Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Otto Preminger sued Columbia Pictures and its TV subsidiary Screen Gems when it sold this film in a package of 60 films to television for $10 million. In New York, ABC interrupted the 160-minute film 13 times with 36 commercials. Preminger was furious that his film was being mutilated and took them to court in a highly publicized case. He lost. (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy (9/10) (no change from original review)

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5 thoughts on “Anatomy of a Murder (1959) – Encore Review

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