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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Witness for the Prosecution (1957) - Review

Billy Wilder directs this witty, engaging courtroom drama overflowing with great characters entangled in a trial that not only hold your interest, but have you longing for films of yesterday. 

Leonard Vole (Tyrone Power) is accused of seducing and murdering the rich old widow in order to inherit her fortune.  Vole, of course, claims he is innocent and was simply befriending a lonely woman.  No one seems to be buying it except for the superb Charles Laughton as Sir Wilfrid Robarts, a criminal lawyer with a taste for brandy and cigars who ignores the advice of his doctors to take the case.  He is the only chance Mr. Vole will be set free. 

Full of twists, turns, revelations and questions you will stay interested interested throughout even if it plays a bit melodramatic.  Along with an engaging story and a supporting cast full of familiar faces, the lead performances are certainly a draw here; Laughton's performance is delightfully inflated and offbeat, Tyrone Power's is relatable as the wrong man and Marlene Dietrich as Vole's cold and mysterious wife can't help but demand your attention.  Sit back and experience why some films are called classics. 

8 out of 10

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