Tuesday, January 10, 2006

the attorneys will provide the wisecracks [dedicated to JR's post for forcing a draft post about Anatomy of a Murder out into the light] {may 29, 2005}

I first heard about this Otto Preminger film because of one of the famous title sequences designed by Saul Bass. Then it was the jazz (Duke Ellington providing numerous variations on an 8-bar blues and also appearing on-screen with Jimmy Stewart splitting the ivories with him), and finally it was Otto Preminger (Laura (brutally butchered in that rip-off called Rog), The Man With The Golden Arm (aah the good old days of Star TV)). The film offers a screenplay that's wonderfully rich with detail, character and some very frank dialogue. Then there's a sober presentation of a jury trial (When Lt. Manion asks Biegler "how can the jury disregard what they already heard?" Biegler replies "they can't, lieutenant, they can't"). Nothing's in a rush to get done, and when it's really done, you're not sure you've caught everything that needs to be understood. It's a bit disconcerting to see no closure, but then not showing the closing summaries was a stroke of genius (this way they don't have to worry about writing the perfect closing argument and you don't have to worry about second-guessing it).

Incidentally, if you're trying to make a preview for 12 Angry Men (another great jury film remade in Hindi as Ek Ruka Hua Faisla with K K Raina standing in for Henry Fonda -- aah, the good old days at NFAI screenings), you have McCarthy's (Arthur O'Connell) notes about the jury process.

The preview's cool too.

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