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Studio One: The Defender (1950)

Martin Balsam , Ralph Bellamy  |  NR |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Studio One: The Defender + Studio One Anthology
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Product Details

  • Actors: Martin Balsam, Ralph Bellamy, Steve McQueen, William Shatner
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Video Service Corp
  • DVD Release Date: June 6, 2006
  • Run Time: 130 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006RJHB
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,413 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

A live television courtroom drama first shown in 1957 as a two-hour special. A CBS "Studio One" presentation, this was the pilot for the series that would feature Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford and others who would become stars.

Customer Reviews

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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Live TV at its best March 24, 2006
Studio One made a name for itself doing teleplays for television. These plays were preformed like stage shows for the camera. Most were shot on video live. In the late 1970's CBS destroyed most of these viseo tapes.

The Defenders video tape survived. I know how nor why. If you are a Star Trek Fan, this 1957 tele-play has the acting talents of William Shatner, long before he donned the Star Fleet uniform of James T Kirk and beamed aboard the Starship Enterprise. He plays the son of a father and son legal team. You see, even before he was Denny Crane of TV's Boston Legal, he was a lawyer

This teleplay also starred Ralph Bellamy (as Shatner's Legal eagle father), Steve McQueen (before he was in TV's Wanted: Dead or Alive and the movies The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape) and Martin Balsam.

This was the age of Live TV. However, You could not find a flub in these two episodes of live TV. Nor could you find a bad preformance in these shows

If you are fan of TV history, The Defenders became a regular TV series in the 1960's. Bellamy's father role was played by E.G. Marshall & Shatner by Robert Reed (TV Brady Bunch).

If you are a fan of old TV, a good collection to showcase classic Television

Bennet Pomerantz, AUDIOWORLD
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic drama at its best December 16, 2007
Studio One was one of the better drama shows ever made. Created around 1948 it featured a multitude of young stars that would become Hollywood Legends like Natalie Wood, Charlton Heston, John Forsythe to name a few. This episode features three great stars: Richard Bellamy, William Shatner and Steve McQueen. Bellamy was already an established actor while Shatner and McQueen weren't even in their acting prime.

This is before Shatner's career arrived on Star Trek and McQueen became a big Hollywood star. In fact his acting on this probably broke upon his career as well as Shatner's (nine years before Star Trek). Shatner plays a lawyer, Kenneth Preston, defending a man, Joseph Gordon wanted for murder (McQueen). Ralph Bellamy is Walter Preston and Kenneth's dad. Kenneth believes in Joseph's innocence but Walter does not especially since Joseph is prone to violent outburst. It also does not help the fact that several witness (including Joseph's ex-girlfriend) point him as the bad guy.

Nevertheless, both father and son team do a great job in poking holes in witness testimony, and raise reasonable doubt and give the young Gordon a chance to survive.

Like I said great acting by all three. Shatner has been known to overact his roles (including Star Trek) but he is rolling on all cylinder showing the young brilliance that he also shown in TV episodes of the Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

After this great episode there is a great documentary on the history behind Studio One that is really worth checking out.

Parts of this episode were used for BL "Son of the Defender" but really that episode doesn't do justice to how brilliant this two part episode really was. Forget about that episode and see this video today.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the greatest Court room drama September 21, 2010
This two-part episode of the legendary TV series, Studio One, stars Ralph Bellamy and William Shatner as defense lawyers who defends an accused murder played by Steve McQueen. I think this is probably one of the great courtroom dramas ever made. For once it's not about if the defendant is guilty or not guilty, it's about taking the path you choose in a court of law. Bellamy is convinced from the start that Mcqueen is guilty of murder and though he continues to defend him, he can't bring himself to believe his innocence. Surprisingly the tension and drama all comes from Bellamy and Shatner, they are a father and son who clearly never saw eye to eye. Shatner believe's McQueen is innocent and though he never really convinces his father it's the prosecutor who tells him that you can't think of guilt or innosence, you just have to do your job because it's your profession. Today's courtroom dramas aren't like this that operates on this clear logic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good show, but a little slow... February 12, 2008
By jmdick
Watching this TV courtroom drama, I realized I saw it when I was a kid--I remember bits and pieces. Nevertheless, I recently saw the Boston Legal episode, Son Of The Defender (one of BL's finest) into which the producers add various clips of The Defender, so I had to have it.
The show, filmed in black and white, really wasted a lot of time in development, and if it had been condensed by half, would have held the audience's attention a bit more.
The acting was top-notch, and the end was excellent, plus it made for a great, I mean truly great, Boston Legal episode, which is in the third season disc set. If you've seen The Defender, then you've got to see Son Of The Defender, or vice-versa....
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