Directed by Otto Preminger
I put off writing this review for awhile, mostly because I am absolutely in love with this movie. I can bitch about films rather well, but it is hard for me to write a rave; I feel like I sometimes come across as a gushing fangirl. However, we will brave our way through this review and hopefully, I will be able to convince everyone to watch this gem asap.
James Stewart plays a small town lawyer named Paul Biegler, who is hired by Laura Manion to defend her husband against a charge of first degree murder. Her husband does not deny that he killed Barney Quill, but claims that Barney raped his wife.
The beauty of this film is that the viewer acts a jury member. We are never shown what really happened; it is up to us to decide that for ourselves. Much like in 12 Angry Men, we are not given a flashback sequence where everything is cleared up for us. We just have to rely on different characters' testimonies and, along with Jimmy Stewart, try to decide if they are telling the truth.
I was also fascinating by the acting. Of course, James Stewart is fantastic. However, the minor characters were sometimes great, other times not so much. Of course, that begs the question: are they bad actors or are the characters bad actors?
This film is two hours and forty minutes and I was not bored for a second of it. If there is one thing the fifties got right, it's courtroom dramas.
Lee Remick's part was turned down by Lana Turner and Jayne Mansfield.
Stewart's father took out an ad in the local newspaper urging people not to see this movie because he thought it was too dirty.
Included the words bitch, sperm, contraceptive, rape, penetration, panties, and slut. Bye, bye production code!