NNDB
This is a beta version of NNDB
Search: for
Witness for the Prosecution (Dec-1957)

Director: Billy Wilder

Writers: Harry Kurnitz; Larry Marcus; Billy Wilder

From a play: Witness for the Prosecution by Agatha Christie

Musical Score: Matty Malneck

Producer: Arthur Hornblow, Jr.

Keywords: Mystery, Courtroom

Tyrone Power plays Leonard Vole, accused on circumstantial evidence of murdering a wealthy widow he had known only a short time but who had bequeathed him a fortune. Charles Laughton is Sir Wilfrid Robarts, barrister in poor health who only one day out of the hospital has agreed to take up his case; Marlene Dietrich is Christine, his wife and star witness for the prosecution. First rate courtroom drama; nominated for 6 Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actress.

NameOccupationBirthDeathKnown for
Henry Daniell
Actor
5-Mar-1894 31-Oct-1963 British-American character actor
Marlene Dietrich
Actor
27-Dec-1901 6-May-1992 The Blue Angel
Elsa Lanchester
Actor
28-Oct-1902 26-Dec-1986 Bride of Frankenstein
Charles Laughton
Actor
1-Jul-1899 15-Dec-1962 Island of Lost Souls
Ruta Lee
Actor
30-May-1936   Former hostess, High Rollers
Una O'Connor
Actor
23-Oct-1880 4-Feb-1959 Googly-eyed character actress
Tyrone Power
Actor
5-May-1913 15-Nov-1958 Witness for the Prosecution
Torin Thatcher
Actor
15-Jan-1905 4-Mar-1981 The 7th Voyage of Sinbad
Norma Varden
Actor
20-Jan-1898 19-Jan-1989 Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Ian Wolfe
Actor
4-Nov-1896 23-Jan-1992 Bedlam

CAST

Tyrone Power   ...   Leonard Vole
Marlene Dietrich   ...   Christine
Charles Laughton   ...   Sir Wilfrid
With
Elsa Lanchester   ...   Miss Plimsoll
Una O'Connor   ...   Janet
John Williams   ...   Brogan-Moore
Henry Daniell   ...   Mayhew
Torin Thatcher   ...   Mr. Myers
Philip Tonge   ...   Insp. Hearne
Ian Wolfe   ...   Carter
Francis Compton   ...   Judge
Norma Varden   ...   Mrs. French
Ruta Lee   ...   Diana

REVIEWS

Review by Mark J. Shallow (posted on 12-Dec-2008)

That reliable cinematic workhorse, the courtroom drama, is admirably showcased in this film version of Agatha Christie's hit play. The genius of Billy Wilder, who directed, is plainly evident throughout. Despite the unlikely histrionics at the very end of the film, Wilder and his players capture and hold the audience's attention. There could never have been an instance of more felicitous casting than Charles Laughton as Sir Wilfrid Robards. Though much-maligned during his career for chewing the scenery, here his characterization sparkles with incisive wit and cunning as the aging lion brought into the arena one more time. The byplay between himself and his real-life wife, Elsa Lanchester, who plays his delightfully nagging nurse, reverberates with a sort of venemous charm that is impossible to dislike. Marlene Dietrich, as the wife of the accused murderer, is the epitome of continental hauteur, and the fencing between her and Laughton has a compelling edginess to it. The only flaw in this otherwise brilliant film is the casting of an Anerican actor (Tyrone Power) as the man charged with murdering his wealthy benefactress. This was the last film for the former Fox star, and he seems distinctly out of place among his European counterparts. He was an odd choice to play Leonard Vole, given the fact that Christie wrote the character as being British.


Have you seen this film? We would love to see your review.
Submit your review for this film


Do you know something we don't?
Submit a correction or make a comment about this profile



Copyright ©2014 Soylent Communications

NNDB MAPPER


Giuliani's Right Wing Network


Requires Flash 7+ and Javascript.

Bibliographies

NNDB has added thousands of bibliographies for people, organizations, schools, and general topics, listing more than 50,000 books and 120,000 other kinds of references. They may be accessed by the "Bibliography" tab at the top of most pages, or via the "Related Topics" box in the sidebar. Please feel free to suggest books that might be critical omissions.