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Sgt_Markoff

Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

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sepiatone sez:

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Being too, a MICHIGANDER

:D That makes your spouse a ...MichiGOOSE?

 

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2 hours ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

in fact--going back to this matter of this inexperienced day-player 'roped in' to serve as the judge in this movie's court case--there's one scene which is perhaps the most crucial scene in the movie; and (this is really something!) he is at the center of it. Preminger shows him in a solitary close-up, mulling over the legal nicety upon which the whole trial revolves...and its a long c.u. too; as the 'judge' takes out his pocketwatch and thoughtfully rewinds it before issuing his ruling. This is the scene when the bench must decide whether to allow Jimmy Stewart's plea (to open up details of the alleged assault). I can't readily name any other such movie which has as vitally-important a sequence as this, and the director chooses to give it over completely to an utterly amateur actor. Can you?

What you've described here Sarge is an "action" that Welch takes during the film, and in some regards is an old acting trick of using some prop in order to elicit the feeling from an audience that the character is doing some real life action anyone would make and thus making it more believable.

Your example here also says nothing about how Welch delivers his lines throughout the picture.

(...and as you may recall, that was my primary reservation about his performance in this film)

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Yes, they ordinarily call it 'stage business' or 'special business' or 'bits of business' which extras usually perform in the b.g. of a movie; they are specially coached day-players or minor walk-on players who give a picture 'verisimilitude' with things like golf swings or card playing or bartender tricks or piano playing.

Anyway despite the action Welch takes, he nonetheless does have to hold an expression and time the delivery of his line; express suitable gravity and lead us to believe he is really pondering the question before the bench.

We could stay with this example or move to others in the film--he had quite a few lines to handle--but I doubt I'll come to the conclusion that this charming old gentleman harmed the film in any way. Its still my opinion that he enhanced it.

I think his delivery is all the more brilliant for any slight crudeness it might have; it gives the movie just a nudge more towards a 'documentary' feel. Preminger filmed in the real-life crime scene locations, using real-life town residents, and this is a real-life judge familiar with legal address as it takes place in real-life courtrooms. Its not necessarily a demerit at all, that he's not an experienced thespian.

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Welch performing his role well---

TRIAL lawyers are "born" actors---the trial itself is a "play" in many respects.

This is the profession where you will find them, so it is an easy win that Welch could play his part, after being so interesting and compelling during the real-life Army-McCarthy hearings.

(and speaking of actors, who was a better "actor" than Joseph McCarthy in his appearances during the Blacklist mania? Did he believe a word he said? Probably not.)

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Dargo's view is as valid as mine is...its just one of those subjective things where two people viewing the same phenomenon from the same angle, nevertheless see it from divergent perspectives!

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This would probably be the consensus pick as Preminger's best film, though my personal fave is from the previous year, Bonjour Tristesse. However, Anatomy of a Murder is well made in every respect. The accuracy of the legal setting also counts for a lot.

SPOILER:

Preminger's best films usually let us decide for ourselves what we think of the characters. I love the way that James Stewart uses his good ole boy Jimmy Stewart persona very deliberately and manipulatively in the courtroom to allow a killer to go free. Ben Gazzara plays sleazy extremely well, and the reunion of husband and wife at the end is enough to make anyone's stomach churn--and it's perfect for this film. Lee Remick's performance suggests that the wife even gets something of a kick out of the fact that her husband has killed to protect her--"honor" might be too strong a word. I can't imagine what Lana Turner would have made of the part.

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5 hours ago, papyrusbeetle said:

Welch performing his role well---

TRIAL lawyers are "born" actors---the trial itself is a "play" in many respects.

This is the profession where you will find them, so it is an easy win that Welch could play his part, after being so interesting and compelling during the real-life Army-McCarthy hearings.

(and speaking of actors, who was a better "actor" than Joseph McCarthy in his appearances during the Blacklist mania? Did he believe a word he said? Probably not.)

Well, NOT to turn this discussion away from the topic of this film, but MY opinion about "Tail Gunner" Joe was that while he definitely WAS a political opportunist, he was ALSO dumb enough to actually believe the crap that spouted from his mouth.

(...and like so many of his ilk, the ideologues of the world, have been even before HE came along and have been since) 

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Dargo, the chief reasons for US antipathy towards the Soviet model has always been economic. Collectivism is--and always will be --a stern challenge to our 'private profit' model. Set everything else about national ideologies aside. If you need corroboration, look no further than Noam Chomsky. As for paranoia--the fact is, Soviet spies ran rings around us. We had occasional spectacular coups, but on a day-to-day basis ...really, any determined enemy can usually bewilder us.

Eh well. Nevermind. That's just as aside. Kingrat (above) has some interestin' remarks. 'Anatomy of a Murder' is intensely seamy while still being entirely above-board. Its sensational. So typical of Otto Preminger's fascination with sexual themes. Practically every scene in this flick drives the point home--rape! Molested women! Women who 'prowl' out for an evening! Strutting around bare-legged! It's just incredible the 'relentless' way the story hones in on these unsavory issues. None other than Jimmy Stewart facing them down. Who better? The symbolism in this story is epic.

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Well Darg, you never claimed to be a "big fan" of Lana's acting, as you were of HER!  ;)  Was all I was saynin'. 

I'll just add this about the movie...

I saw it WAY before I came across the book and then read IT, and having seen the movie beforehand really helped with the mental imagery WHILE reading it.  And  ROBERT TRAVER's prose just BEGGED for JIMMY STEWART'S voice doing the narrative.  ;)  It was almost as if Mr. Traver heard Jimmy's voice in his head while WRITING it!  :wacko:

Sepiatone

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Ben Gazzara seemed to excel in playing these creepy, snide (often military) characters. He's not physically imposing but he sure makes it seem that way. What was the picture he was in, alongside George Peppard, set in a Southern military academy?

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43 minutes ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

Ben Gazzara seemed to excel in playing these creepy, snide (often military) characters. He's not physically imposing but he sure makes it seem that way. What was the picture he was in, alongside George Peppard, set in a Southern military academy?

It was called "The Strange One" based on a Calder Willingham novel (End as a Man).

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6 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

Well Darg, you never claimed to be a "big fan" of Lana's acting, as you were of HER!  ;)  Was all I was saynin'. 

Actually here Sepia, I also don't ever recall saying that I was ever a big fan of hers "looks-wise" either, if that was what you meant. 

Remember here, I've stated many times that I've always had much more of a thing for the sultry brunette types, like Ava and Hedy.

(...that whole bleached blonde thing like Lana would have done to herself early in her career in order to become known as a "sex goddess" and like so many actresses have done over the years, has never done much for me in this regard)

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I have to disagree again.  I do recall MY mentioning I was put off by Lana's seemingly lack of chin, and YOU countered with how gorgeous you thought she was, and blah, blah, blah.....

But then, it too seemed that only lasted until STEPHANIE POWERS came along,  ;)  which THEN put us more or less on the same page!  :P

Sepiatone

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"Oh No, no, no, no, no. See, Your Honor? He says he's going after one thing, and then he goes after another--"

"Use the proper form of address, Mister Biegler!"

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On 2/15/2019 at 12:14 PM, Sgt_Markoff said:

Yes, they ordinarily call it 'stage business' or 'special business' or 'bits of business' which extras usually perform in the b.g. of a movie; they are specially coached day-players or minor walk-on players who give a picture 'verisimilitude' with things like golf swings or card playing or bartender tricks or piano playing.

Anyway despite the action Welch takes, he nonetheless does have to hold an expression and time the delivery of his line; express suitable gravity and lead us to believe he is really pondering the question before the bench.

We could stay with this example or move to others in the film--he had quite a few lines to handle--but I doubt I'll come to the conclusion that this charming old gentleman harmed the film in any way. Its still my opinion that he enhanced it.

I think his delivery is all the more brilliant for any slight crudeness it might have; it gives the movie just a nudge more towards a 'documentary' feel. Preminger filmed in the real-life crime scene locations, using real-life town residents, and this is a real-life judge familiar with legal address as it takes place in real-life courtrooms. Its not necessarily a demerit at all, that he's not an experienced thespian.

I'd enjoy this movie even more if Roy Cohn had been cast also, Sgt. Markoff.

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On 2/17/2019 at 7:53 AM, Sepiatone said:

I have to disagree again.  I do recall MY mentioning I was put off by Lana's seemingly lack of chin, and YOU countered with how gorgeous you thought she was, and blah, blah, blah.....

But then, it too seemed that only lasted until STEPHANIE POWERS came along,  ;)  which THEN put us more or less on the same page!  :P

Sepiatone

Chinless Lana, Sepia?

Geez, you make it sound like she resembled Alice Pearce from "Bewitched" as Gladys Kravitz!

Let's discuss chinless men in the movies next, okay?

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