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Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

Witness for the Prosecution (1957)



Charles Laughton

Tyrone Power

Marlene Dietrich

Elsa Lanchester

Directed by Billy Wilder

This will be my first time seeing this movie, and I was amazed by the amount of twist and turns this movie holds. Until the very end everything you know about this movie or what really happened is up for grabs and nothing ever is certain. The movie’s plot is well crafted to make the viewer lost in either the suspicion of everyone except the defendant. The triumph of this movie is something I have to praise Billy Wilder for. His ability as director twirling this screen adaption here and there is so amazing to behold.

Praises also is due to the cast of Charles Laughton, Tyrone Power and Marlene Dietrich the three were so much in the controlling role of this film that there was no way this was not going to be a hit. The three gave performances that warrants them getting applauded and have awards thrown their way. Along with the three main cast is Laughton’s real life wife Elsa Lanchester who plays a supporting role as Sir Wilfrid’s nurse. A role which earned her a Golden Globe award.

The movie’s plot centers around a man named Leonard Vole (Power) who was being accused of murdering a wealthy elderly woman named Jane French. Vole’s solicitor toke him to a senior barrister named Sir Wilfrid (Laughton) a man who was just returning home from the hospital after being there for a lengthy period with heart trouble.

Leonard claims to not have been around when the murder was committed and his only witness is his wife Christine (Dietrich). Wilfrid at first handed the case to someone else in his firm, but changed his mind when he saw the weird threads tied around Leonard and this case. He decided to be the lead counsel and we watch as he tries to unravel the case and come to a final conclusion as to whether Leonard murdered Jane French or not.

The movie is based on an Agatha Christie’s short story which first had a play adaptation and this being the first film adaptation of the 1925 publication. The movie was both a critical and commercial success and it has been praised as one of the best adaptation of Christie’s works.

It has also been recognised by the AFI (American Film Institute) in the sixth spot in their AFI’s 10 top 10 Courtroom Drama. If not for the Covid-19 pandemic there was talk of Ben Affleck wanting to create a remake of this film in 2020. I do not know if such a desire will ever come to pass, I feel this movie is one of those classics that should just be left alone as it is.


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