Yet watching Jimmy Stewart in an old film which regularly discusses "rape" and "panties" is, even in a semi-sterilized in 1959 sort-of-way is still kind of strange, and well...not that enjoyable.
Clocking-in at two hours and forty minutes the films a little bit of a beast to watch. In trying to understand the high praise for the film, it seems that the film's marks tend to deal with the realism of the court room presentation, and the challenging (and real) presentation of weakness in the American justice system.
Yet, personally, I had a hard time really enjoying this film in any sense. There were a few times when the court room realism was interesting. In terms of performances, I enjoyed seeing Jimmy Stewart's last of five Oscar nominated performances. Yet, a film that challenges the nobility of the lawyer craft isn't high up on my personal watch list.
Would I recommend this film? Probably not. Can I respect it, sure. But, here are two courtroom films from the same time period I enjoy so much more and highly recommend (incidentally both featuring Marlene Dietrich):
- Witness For the Prosecution (1957) directed by Billy Wilder based on the Agatha Christie short story and play staring Marlene Dietrich and is far more gimmicky than Anatomy of A Murder, which is fine with me. I enjoy the gimmicks.
- Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) directed by Stanley Kramer with a complex script about the post-WWII military tribunals. The film is very serious and captivating, a powerful once in a lifetime experience that is even longer than Anatomy of a Murder, but worth each minute. So many powerful performances as well...Spencer Tracy (Oscar nominee, Best Actor), Burt Lancaster, Marlene Dietrich, Maximilian Schell (Oscar winner, Best Actor), Judy Garland (Oscar nominee, Supporting Actress), Montgomery Clift (Oscar Nominee, Supporting Actor) and William Shatner.
This film was watched by recommendation of General125 in response to my post What I Haven't Seen on the IMDb Tom 250 Film List, but he disclosed via twitter that he meant to recommend Dial M For Murder not Anatomy of Murder. So much murder...it can get confusing.