Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
Having recently watched and being ultimately disappointed by The Verdict, bbbtoby (you can check out his site here) on Twitter suggested watching this movie as according to him it’s one of the best coutroom dramas. As I can really enjoy these type of movies I was looking forward to checking it out.
At the beginning of the movie we are introduced to Wilfred Robarts (Chales Laughton), a very good lawyer who returns back to work after being ill for a while. His nurse (Elsa Lanchester) has to make sure he doesn’t get too much excitement and so he can’t do any criminal cases. Robarts is an extremely grumpy man, who loves his cigars (which he isn’t allowed to smoke because of his state) and drinks, so he has this constant battle with the nurse to get his hands on them. It’s very funny stuff.
This being a courtroom drama there has to be a case though and it’s an interesting one. Leonard Vole (Tyrone Power) is accused of murdering woman, but he says he did not do it. His wife Christine (Marlene Dietrich) can confirm his alibi, so Robarts decides to take on the case, despite the fact he’s still recovering. What follows is a very exciting court case, with a lot of drama and some great cross examinations.
Chales Laughton shines in his role as the lawyer, being both funny and managing to make it a character who is believable as this very experienced and knowledgable lawyer. Marlene Dietrich is also amazing and from the moment she’s introduced you have the feeling that more is going on with her. The movie has some nice unexpected moments, but as the voiceover in the credits asks, I’m not allowed to tell you about them. If you are into courtroom dramas then this is the movie you must have seen. It’s a classic.