(For SI Blog reader Guruprasad)
Some movies are indeed for the ages.
Neither the passage of time nor the march of technology (like color, surround-sound, 3D et al) or new forms of entertainment can diminish their lustrous appeal.
Like for instance, the 1957 Hollywood murder/court-room drama Witness for the Prosecution, our fifth Billy Wilder movie (Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard, Love in the Afternoon and Sabrina are the other Billy Wilder films we’ve seen).
More than five decades after the film debuted, Witness for the Prosecution is an enduring testament to director Billy Wilder’s prodigious talent and mastery of the craft.
Since many of you ADDled schmucks have difficulty in reading anything beyond five paragraphs, let’s say it in stentorian tones – Witness for the Prosecution, a black and white film shot mostly indoor, is a gorgeous movie and an absolute delight to watch.
Based on a play by the British crime novelist Agatha Christie and a screenplay by Billy Wilder and Harry Kurnitz, Witness for the Prosecution showcases not merely fine acting (foremost of all by the remarkable and endearing Charles Laughton) but a gripping story laced with humor, strong writing and knotted in neat twists that keep you glued to the screen.
When a struggling London egg-beater salesman Leonard Vole (Tyrone Powers) is charged with the murder of a rich, elderly widow Emily Jane French, the responsibility of saving Vole from the gallows falls on the crafty old fox Sir.Wilfrid Robarts (Charles Laughton), an ailing barrister just out of the hospital and with a domineering, babbling nurse in tow.
When all circumstantial evidence points to your client’s guilt, what way out is there? Particularly, when the wife (Marlene Dietrich) herself turns out to be the ….no, we won’t tell you that bit.
Sure, the court-room action is a bit over the top but the movie is no less entertaining for that.
Marlene Dietrich is alright but let’s face it the German gal was well past her prime menopause when the movie was made.
By the way, there are plenty of fine lines in the movie. Here are a few of them:
Blood is thicker than evidence
One can get very tired of gratitude
Like a drowning man clutching a razor-blade
Champion of the hopeless cause
We kinda partially guessed the ending having watched some of Billy Wilder’s previous movies and also the fact that the murder still remains unresolved. No, we’re not revealing the ending to y’all.
SearchIndia.com strongly recommends Witness for the Prosecution.
Witness for the Prosecution is available on DVD at Netflix.