Saturday, 31 May 2014

''Witness for the Prosecution'' (1957 movie)- Review

Directed by: Billy Wilder
Released: 1957
Country: United States

Genre: Thriller, Crime, Mystery

Rating: 4.5 out of 5


''Witness for the Prosecution'' is directed by Billy Wilder and is based on a short story by Agatha Christie- amazing, isn't it? And the film is amazing as well: well-written, well-directed, puzzling, grave, and witty. It has got such a bunch of memorable characters, and the entire film is really enjoyable. I think it was quite unpredictable and it had a really great twist and ending.

Sir Wilfrid Robarts, played by Charles Laughton, is a barrister who has recently had some cardiac problem, and has been strictly advised by the doctor not to take any criminal cases. Miss Plimsoll (Elsa Lancaster) is a nurse who is taking care of him, and strictly disapproves of his actions, including hiding cigars in his canes. However, he soon gets the offer to take a murder case: a man named Leonard Vole (Tyrone Power) has been accused of murdering a middle-aged woman, Emily French, and Vole wants Sir Wilfrid to defend him. Soon, it is revealed that Emily French left Vole a large amount of money, which becomes a possible motive for murder, and Vole is arrested.

 Though Miss Plimsoll wants Sir Wilfrid not to take the case as it may have drastic effects on his health, Sir Wilfrid decides to defend Vole, and takes the case. Things don't go quite smooth, as there are several evidences are against Vole, and most importantly, there is Christine (Marlene Dietrich), Vole's mysterious wife, whom Sir Wilfrid calls a ''remarkable woman''... 

The film was amazing! An extremely puzzling story, excellent screenplay, the mystery, the performances of Charles Laughton, Elsa Lancaster, Marlene Dietrich, and Tyrone Power- all these make the film such an enjoyable, entertaining, memorable journey. Sir Wilfrid and Miss Plimsoll are two characters I absolutely loved. It is strange that Miss Plimsoll did not really have any role in the case the film is about, she is just the nurse of Sir Wilfrid, yet she is one of the most memorable characters of the film. such an amusing, such a funny character that I really, really admired! Elsa Lancaster won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in this film, and she definitely deserved it! She gives such a memorable performance! Charles Laughton, as Sir Wilfrid, is really excellent as well! In spite of being discharged from the hospital only recently, he is eager to resume working, taking up murder cases, and is very intelligent, very devoted to his work. What an excellent performance! Marlene Dietrich is very memorable as well.

It is a thoroughly entertaining film: the courtroom scenes are enjoyable with the numerous twists and turns that happen throughout the film, culminating in an unpredictable and extremely memorable ending. Excellently-directed, ,acted, and written, witty, puzzling, twisted and entertaining, this is a wonderful gem of a film. (This is only my fourth Billy Wilder film, and he is now a favorite of mine. Two of his films, ''Sunset Boulevard'' and ''The Apartment'' are among my all-time favorite films).

4.5 out of 5

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