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Witness for the Prosecution
Tyrone Power and Marlene Dietrich




Overview -
Charles Laughton stars as barrister Sir Wilfrid Robarts in Billy Wilder's screen version of Agatha Christie's enormously successful stage adaptation of her original story. Although the ailing attorney has been advised by his doctors to cease and desist from the practice of law, his interest is piqued when solicitor Mayhew (Henry Daniell) asks him to take the case of murderer suspect Leonard Vole (Tyrone Power). After evidence that he stood to gain financially from the victim's death comes to light, the man is indicted. Robarts, nonetheless, agrees to defend Vole, convinced as he is of his innocence. But the case becomes even more of an uphill battle when the defendant's supposedly loving wife Christine (Marlene Dietrich) decides to testify as a witness for the prosecution. Wilder expanded Christie's play, creating the role of Robarts' housekeeper Miss Plimsoll (played by Laughton's actual wife Elsa Lanchester), whose badinage with her employer provides a comic counterpoint to the film's melodrama. Bravura performances by Dietrich and Laughton fuel the entertaining courtroom drama, which also features fine work by Tyrone Power in his last screen appearance.

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More About Witness for the Prosecution

 
 
 

Overview

Charles Laughton stars as barrister Sir Wilfrid Robarts in Billy Wilder's screen version of Agatha Christie's enormously successful stage adaptation of her original story. Although the ailing attorney has been advised by his doctors to cease and desist from the practice of law, his interest is piqued when solicitor Mayhew (Henry Daniell) asks him to take the case of murderer suspect Leonard Vole (Tyrone Power). After evidence that he stood to gain financially from the victim's death comes to light, the man is indicted. Robarts, nonetheless, agrees to defend Vole, convinced as he is of his innocence. But the case becomes even more of an uphill battle when the defendant's supposedly loving wife Christine (Marlene Dietrich) decides to testify as a witness for the prosecution. Wilder expanded Christie's play, creating the role of Robarts' housekeeper Miss Plimsoll (played by Laughton's actual wife Elsa Lanchester), whose badinage with her employer provides a comic counterpoint to the film's melodrama. Bravura performances by Dietrich and Laughton fuel the entertaining courtroom drama, which also features fine work by Tyrone Power in his last screen appearance.

Main Cast & Crew

Billy Wilder - Director
Tyrone Power
Marlene Dietrich
Charles Laughton
Elsa Lanchester
John Williams
Henry Daniell
Ian Wolfe
Una O'Connor
Torin Thatcher
Francis Compton

 

Details

DVD Format
  • Format: DVD
  • Run Time: 116
  • Color Format: B&W
  • UPC: 738329132521
  • Genre: Drama
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Release Date: December 2001

Related Categories:
Movies > Dramas

Related Keywords:
Law/Lawyers
Mystery
Suspense
Thriller
Courtroom
Crime
Essential Cinema

 

Movie Reviews

More Details

Reviews:
"...Wilder's wit enlivens the courtroom scenes..." - 10/01/2000 Total Film, p.114

 

BAM Customer Reviews