Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Capital Celluloid - Day 184: Tuesday July 5

Anatomy of a Murder (Preminger, 1959): BFI Southbank, 6.10pm

Screening as part of the BFI's Passport to Cinema season and introduced by critic Richard Combs.

Otto Preminger was one of Hollywood's most fascinating and underrated directors. Here's Jonathan Rosenbaum's in-depth article on the Austro-Hungarian exile's best work, which includes this superb courtroom drama. And here's his capsule review for the Chicago Reader:

'This 1959 release is a prime contender for Otto Preminger's greatest film—a superb courtroom drama packed with humor and character that shows every actor at his or her best. James Stewart plays a small-town Michigan lawyer asked to defend an army lieutenant (Ben Gazzara) on a charge of murdering a local businessman who allegedly raped his flirtatious wife (Lee Remick); Boston lawyer Joseph Welch (of the army-McCarthy hearings), in his only screen performance, plays the judge; and George C. Scott is a lawyer working for the prosecution. There are also wonderful performances by Arthur O'Connell and Eve Arden, and even a cameo by Duke Ellington, who composed the memorable jazz score. As an entertaining look at legal process, this is spellbinding, infused by an ambiguity about human personality and motivation that is Preminger's trademark, and the location shooting is superb. Adapted by Wendell Mayes from Robert Travers's novel. 161 min.' Jonathan Rosenbaum

Look at this great trailer.

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