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Anatomy of a Murder

James Stewart  Actor Lee Remick  Actor Ben Gazzara  Actor Arthur O'Connell  Actor George C. Scott  Actor Eve Arden  Actor Kathryn Grant  Actor

MPAA Rating: NR
Contains:Questionable for Children,Adult Language

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  • Edtitorial Reviews
  • Cast & Production Credits
Anatomy of a Murder

UPC: 043396070196

Studio: Columbia TriStar

MPAA Rating: NR   Contains:[Questionable for Children, Adult Language]

Summary: Based on the best-selling novel by Robert Traver (the pseudonym for Michigan Supreme Court justice John D. Voelker), Anatomy of a Murder stars James Stewart as seat-of-the-pants Michigan lawyer Paul Biegler. Through the intervention of his alcoholic mentor, Parnell McCarthy (Arthur O'Connell), Biegler accepts the case of one Lt. Manion (Ben Gazzara), an unlovable lout who has murdered a local bar owner. Manion admits that he committed the crime, citing as his motive the victim's rape of the alluring Mrs. Manion (Lee Remick). Faced with the formidable opposition of big-city prosecutor Claude Dancer (George C. Scott), Biegler hopes to win freedom for his client by using as his defense the argument of "irresistible impulse." Also featured in the cast is Eve Arden as Biegler's sardonic secretary, Katherine Grant as the woman who inherits the dead man's business, and Joseph N. Welch -- who in real life was the defense attorney in the Army-McCarthy hearings -- as the ever-patient judge. The progressive-jazz musical score is provided by Duke Ellington, who also appears in a brief scene. Producer/director Otto Preminger once more pushed the envelope in Anatomy of a Murder by utilizing technical terminology referring to sexual penetration, which up until 1959 was a cinematic no-no. Contrary to popular belief, Preminger was not merely being faithful to the novel; most of the banter about "panties" and "semen," not to mention the 11-hour courtroom revelation, was invented for the film. Anatomy of a Murder was filmed on location in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Category: Drama

Awards: Best British Film – British Academy of Film and Television Arts Best Director – Directors Guild of America Best Picture - Drama – null Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama – null Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion – null Best Director – null Best Actor – Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Adapted Screenplay – Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Black and White Cinematography – Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Editing – Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Picture – Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion – Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion – Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Picture – National Board of Review Volpi Cup for Best Actor – Venice International Film Festival Best Actor – New York Film Critics Circle Best Screenplay – New York Film Critics Circle Best Supporting Actor – Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion – Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Picture - Drama – Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Supporting Actor – Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Director – Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama – Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Features: Digitally remastered audio and video
Production notes
Vintage advertising
Photo montage: "Anatomy of a Classic" (featuring the music of Duke Ellington)
Talent files
Theatrical trailer
Bonus trailers

Anatomy of a Murder

Format: DVD

Release Date: 07/11/2000

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Pre-1954 Standard

Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital 5.1, 1 USA & territories, Canada

Runtime: 160 Minutes

Sides: 1

Number of Discs: 1

Language(s) English,Spanish

Subtitles: English,Spanish,Portuguese

Region: USA & territories, Canada

Chapters: Side #1 --
0. Scene Selection
1. Start [8:26]
2. Mrs. Manion calls [1:54]
3. Maida [4:45]
4. Questioning Lt. Manion [11:51]
5. Laura's story [11:27]
6. Mitch Lodwick [4:17]
7. Thunder Bay Inn [5:04]
8. Mary Pilant [4:23]
9. Pie-Eye [5:39]
10. Judge Weaver [4:02]
11. At the Station [7:27]
12. Dr. Raschid [3:04]
13. Mr. Burke [2:53]
14. Alphonse Paquette [1:57]
15. Mr. Lemon [7:56]
16. Sgt. Durgo [3:58]
17. Dr. Dompierre [9:47]
18. Recall: Alphonse Paquette [2:09]
19. Back to Thunder Bay Inn [7:01]
20. Manion takes the stand [5:01]
21. Remarkable little animal [6:03]
22. Dr. Smith [13:39]
23. Dr. Harcourt [6:13]
24. Duane Miller [2:26]
25. Recall: Lt. Manion [3:44]
26. Last-minute witness [3:17]
27. The verdict [8:58]
28. Irresistible impulse [1:10]

Dan Jardine

Like the court proceedings at its core, Otto Preminger's Anatomy of a Murder moves at a deliberate pace, unwinding its 161 minutes in long, fluid takes. The subject matter (rape and the insanity defense) was controversial in the 1950s, as was Preminger's approach, which was bluntly direct. The film maintains a cool objectivity as it explores both the psychosexual issues of the central characters and the complex legal issues confronted by lawyer Paul Biegler and his client Lieutenant Manion. It raises prickly and complex questions about legal ethics, while challenging the audience to decide for itself the tricky issues of justice and truth. Sam Leavitt's black-and-white cinematography contrasts with the various shades of gray in the moral dilemmas of the characters. Justice appears to be an afterthought in this case in which procedure and self-interest, rather than a pursuit of the truth, control the process. There are no clear-cut good guys and bad guys, and the film's resolution has a willfully ironic edge. An excellent soundtrack by Duke Ellington and superior casting invigorate what could have become a series of methodical courtroom scenes. James Stewart brings a natural integrity to his flawed character, while George C. Scott's gravelly voice and rumpled energy enliven his cinematic debut. Standouts also include Lee Remick, playing somewhat against type as the flirtatious "victim," and Ben Gazzara, who eases effortlessly into his cynical role. In an ingenious piece of casting, noted Boston lawyer Joseph N. Welch, famed for his evisceration of Joseph McCarthy ("Have you no shame, senator?"), is cast as the judge. Nominated for eight Academy Awards (though winning none), Anatomy of a Murder was an envelope-pusher in its day, forcing open some of the tightly locked censorial shutters in prudish 1950s Hollywood. ~ Dan Jardine, Rovi

Cast and Crew: Duke Ellington  Composer (Music Score) 
Wendell Mayes  Screenwriter 
Otto Preminger  Director 
Otto Preminger  Producer 
James Stewart  Actor 
Lee Remick  Actor 
Ben Gazzara  Actor 
Arthur O'Connell  Actor 
George C. Scott  Actor 
Eve Arden  Actor 
Joseph Welch  Actor 
Brooks West  Actor 
Kathryn Grant  Actor 
Murray Hamilton  Actor 
Orson Bean  Actor 
Alexander Campbell  Actor 
Joseph Kearns  Actor 
Russ Brown  Actor 
Howard McNear  Actor 
Ned Wever  Actor 
Jimmy Conlin  Actor 
Ken Lynch  Actor 
Royal Beal  Actor 
John Qualen  Actor 
James Waters  Actor 
Duke Ellington  Actor 
Don Ross  Actor 

Country: USA