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DETAILS

MPAA Rating - NR

Length:
    116 Minutes

Genre:
    Mystery

Original Release Date:
    Dec 11, 2001

Director
    Billy Wilder

Cast
    Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton, Elsa Lanchester, Una O'Connor

 
Movie Summary
Having just recovered from a heart attack, fabled British barrister Sir Wilfred Robards (Charles Laughton) has been ordered by his doctor to give up everything he holds dear-brandy, cigars and especially courtroom cases. Robards already shaky resolve to follow doctors orders flies out the window when he takes up the defense of Leonard Vole (Tyrone Power), a personable young man accused of murdering a rich old widow. The case becomes something of a sticky wicket when Voles loving German wife Christine (Marlene Dietrich) announces that shes not legally married to Robards client-and she fully intends to appear as a witness for the prosecution! At the close of this film, a narrator implores the audience not to divulge the ending; we will herein honor that request. A delicious Billy Wilder mixture of humor, intrigue and melodrama, Witness for the Prosecution is distinguished by its hand-picked supporting cast: John Williams as the police inspector, Henry Daniell as Robards law partner, Una OConnor as the murder victims stone-deaf maid, Torin Thatcher as the prosecutor, Ruta Lee as a sobbing courtroom spectator, and Charles Laughtons wife Elsa Lanchester as Robards ever-chipper nurse (a role especially written for the film, so that Lanchester could look after Laughton on the set). And keep an eye out for that uncredited actress playing the vengeful-and pivotal-cockney. Adapted by Wilder, Harry Kurnitz and Larry Marcus from the play by Agatha Christie, Witness for the Prosecution was remade for television in 1982. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide


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