Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Anatomy of a Murder (1959)


CelluloidKid
 Share

Recommended Posts

Otto Preminger is in the midst of reappraisal. Foster Hirsch just published a new bio about the bald and fulminating showman, the New Yorker's David Denby recently discussed the director/producer on the occasion of Hirsch's book and Chris Fujiwara's more analytical book "The World and its Double: The Life and Work of Otto Preminger", and there was also a retrospective of Preminger at NYC's Film Forum. There are times when it seems like there's very few big rediscoveries to make in Hollywood cinema. The longing that maybe there's someone out there who has been overlooked strengthens the idea that Preminger needs new viewers and new understanding. Skidoo, for instance, which I'll be writing about shortly, is an astonishingly strange film, strange in that mind-roasting way that makes it really distinguished. Preminger's less-seen films deserve a revival, but his best work hardly needs a defense. The 1959 "Anatomy of a Murder" is a juicy, involving court-room drama with a splendid Duke Ellington soundtrack. It's about the wolf-like ardor for the law, a legal duel over a pair of wasted lives, held in a small town that sits right on the line between "picturesque" and "squalid."

 

Preminger takes us to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The leaves on the local trees are gone, and the unnameable horror of a Michigan winter isn't too far away. The main character, an oddball called Biegler (Jimmy Stewart) is a slightly bohemian ex-district attorney; he's fond of fishing, inexpensive bourbon, those black, crooked Italian cheroots, and jazz. His nearly non-existent law practice is suddenly energized by a phone call; he's rung up by a lady whose husband has just been arrested for emptying his Luger into a local bartender, Barney Quill. The accused -- a surly, dead-behind-the-eyes Lieutenant Manion, played by Ben Gazzara -- isn't exactly remorseful. He believes the Unwritten Law will get him off: Quill had beaten and raped Manion's wife.

 

You can call me Laura." The name is a charged one in Preminger's work, and Lee Remick's Laura Manion is apparently as lethal as the "Laura" Gene Tierney played in that earlier Preminger film. Remick, a solid actress who died young, is these days remembered as the mom in the original version of "The Omen". However, there was a short period right before 1960 when Remick used to play The Woman Most Likely to Spontaneously Combust. "Everybody in this movie needs a cold shower," said Pauline Kael on Remick's debut film "A Face in the Crowd", and the first one in the bathroom should have been Remick, whose baton-twirling routine was as bad for the male heart as a triple bacon cheeseburger. Here, Remick's Laura wears skin-tight pants suits, carries around a frowzy lapdog, and lives in a trailer park. And even if Stewart is aware of Laura's lethal hotness (she tries to sit in his lap while he's standing up, in Philip Marlowe's phrase) he's able to hold her off. Biegler rounds up a dream-team of his alcoholic best friend Parnell (Arthur O'Connell) and his hard-working secretary (Eve Arden). And he has to move fast, since down in the state capital in Lansing, they've decided to send up a shark-like prosecutor (George C. Scott, at his most mandarin) to nail up the case.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The article was sent to me by a friend, I will find out where he got it from! I'm a huge Otto Preminger fan as well as a fan of "Anatomy of a Murder", so a friend sent me the article since we spent one night talking about this film, as well as about the career of Otto for hrs! I will find out where the article came from and let you know!

 

Also check out the book: Otto Preminger: The Man Who Would Be King great book!! Lots of great info!

 

The 1 film Otto Directed W./Joan Crawford "Daisy Kenyon" is "FINALLY" coming to DVD Mar 11, 2008!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

© 2023 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...