Witness for the Prosecution
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Screen legends Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich and Charles Laughton star in this "brilliantly made courtroom drama" (Film Daily) that left audiences reeling from its surprise twists and shocking climax. Directed by Billy Wilder, scripted by Wilder and Harry Kurnitz, and based on Agatha Christie's hit London play, this splendid, one-of-a-kind classic "crackles with emotional electricity" (The New York Times) and continues to keep movie lovers riveted until the final, mesmerizing frame. When a wealthy widow is found murdered, her married suitor, Leonard Vole (Power), is accused of the crime. Vole's only hope for acquittal is the testimony of his wife (Dietrich)... but his airtight alibi shatters when she reveals some shocking secrets of her own! Nominated for 6 Academy Awards® including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Laughton) and Supporting Actress (Elsa Lanchester).
Top customer reviews
The story by Agathe Christie is gripping as usual, with it's endless twists and totally unforseen ending. The acting is excellent. Tyrone Power is good but not extraordinary. Marlen Dietrich gives us a superb performance, very authoritative and totally believable. She really was a superb actress. In my opinion the real star of the film is Charles Laughton, both witty and funny at times and at the same time very serious when the role demands it, giving one of his best performances ever.
The blu-ray transfer is excellent, providing a very crisp and clear image, even when projected to fill in a large 5 X 3 ft screen.
I highly recommend this film.
This is indeed one of the best transfers of a Christie work to film. Unlike so many of her books, there is no hidden clue or plot twist that leaves one feeling cheated at the end of the film.
It's the cast, of course, that makes the movie for us. Laughton and Lanchester take to their parts like they were born for them, filling their roles with obvious relish and enjoyment. It reminds us how liberating roles can be when the actors aren't young and trying to appear sexy!
Marlene Dietrich plays her part to near-perfection. Considering she was 'way up in her fifties when this movie was made, she is effortless in her grace, if not also her beauty. Who could play this part at that age in today's films? No one I know. Ms. Dietrich always knew her best wardrobe and lighting, and she uses it to great advantage here.
..., Tyrone Power has never seemed to fit so well with the rest of this cast. I've always felt that he acted too 'young' for his part, for, like Ms. Dietrich, he is very obviously middle-aged, and not aging as well as she. While still a handsome man, he seems a good ten years too old for his part. He does his best, though, and certainly doesn't ruin the overall impression of the movie.
As the movie requests, I won't go into the plot or the surprise ending, leaving that for the viewer. I will say that the courtroom scene is one of the best ever made re British courts, as enjoyable as that in "QB VII", being so different from our American system.
This is a movie to treasure and watch over again whenever one feels the need for a 'feel good' film with good guys and bad ones, too. As always, we are so fortunate to be able to preserve these on digital media to enjoy for many years to come.