Customer Reviews


26 Reviews
5 star:
 (18)
4 star:
 (7)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The finest courtroom drama yet made
Preminger's "Anatomy of a Murder" is possibly the finest courtroom drama yet made, with emphasis on 'courtroom'. The dissection of the murder's anatomy takes place within the court, within the language and conflicting narratives of the key players. We don't see the events surrounding the murder ... we see the trial.
It's a simple enough plot. A soldier (Ben...
Published on 26 Mar 2005 by Budge Burgess

versus
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Classic film
Bought this as another classic film for our collection. It is not however my favourite film although but well acted.
Published 6 months ago by Kayakkid


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The finest courtroom drama yet made, 26 Mar 2005
By 
Budge Burgess (Troon, Scotland) - See all my reviews
Preminger's "Anatomy of a Murder" is possibly the finest courtroom drama yet made, with emphasis on 'courtroom'. The dissection of the murder's anatomy takes place within the court, within the language and conflicting narratives of the key players. We don't see the events surrounding the murder ... we see the trial.
It's a simple enough plot. A soldier (Ben Gazarra) is held for the murder of a man who has allegedly raped his wife. The wife (Lee Remick) is far removed from the wholesome image of faithful wife - she wears revealing clothes, hangs out down the bar, and flirts with any male who comes within hailing distance. James Stewart plays the small-town lawyer persuaded to take the unwinnable case - he's bright, but he's jaded after years as District Attorney, and prefers to escape down the river to fish for trout.
It's an open-and-shut case - the soldier admits the shooting, there are witnesses, and the wife's morals are the subject of much gossip around town. The tension is in whether or not Stewart can prove the rape allegation ... and whether or not he can prove that this was justifiable cause for the taking of the man's life.
Preminger was taking major risks. He explores themes which were still pretty risqué in the late 50's. He doesn't sensationalise - we get no gory murder, we get no flashbacks or images of the night. The setting is largely confined within the courtroom and Stewart's offices as we play out a psychological drama. What really happened? What really happened in the minds of the protagonists?
This is a mellow, black & white film: there are dark themes, but the lighting is certainly not 'noir' - the drama is beautifully lit, filmed almost tenderly. The acting is superb (though Gazarra's performance is beginning to appear a little dated), with Stewart and Remick stealing the show. Remick is a wonderfully cool and intelligent actress, and she plays the role of the promiscuous wife with relish and a certain humour. Stewart, as usual, has physical presence ... and then the voice comes in, like whorls in coffee ... creamy, rich, riveting the attention.
The courtroom drama is beautifully handled - the tension and the emotion played slowly, allowed to peak, then subside again. It's as if Preminger is fishing - one moment reeling in the drama, the next letting it run. The judge is used to inject light relief - a brave move in itself - and the themes of rape and promiscuity are never allowed to become salacious. Indeed, the judge's role is to relieve tension ... then crank it up again, reminding the actors of the seriousness of the court case, keeping the audience under control as he does so.
It's a beautifully filmed, tense, psychological drama which demonstrates that good writing, a good plot, and quality acting mean a director has little need for special effects to keep the audience rooted in their seats.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Movie, 8 Jan 2008
This review is from: Anatomy Of A Murder [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
This film is one of the best courtroom films I have ever seen along with "12 Angry Men". The young George Scott and James Stewart excell themselves along with the whole crew.

The film revolves around a murder case under peculiar circumstances. An army lieutenant kills a bar owner who allegedly raped his wife. The raped wife is joyful and full of life married with a jealous and easily infuriated Korean War hero who carries a Luger as a memento of the World War 2. The small town lawyer and his team carefully study the case and finally beat the young and succesfull attorney who is on the way up in his carreer.

In my opinion the film tries to give the audience the feeling that people can not be judged harshly with regards to their evident appearances. They have to be carefully examined and studied before judging them. All the men have vices and virtues at the same time.

A very good movie worth watching over and over again.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Courtroom Classic!, 10 Jan 2013
When U.S Army Lieutenant Frederick "Manny" Manion (Ben Gazzara) is arrested for first degree murder when he kills local tavern owner Barney Quill as he believes he raped his Wife Laura Manion (Lee Remick). Former District Attorney Paul Biegler (James Stewart) who has lost his re-election bid. Biegler now choosing to use his spare time fishing, playing the piano and hanging out with his alcoholic friend and colleague Parnell McCarthy (Arthur O'Connell), as well as his cynical secretary Maida Rutledge (Eve Arden). Biegler is contacted by Laura Manion wanting to secure his services to defend her incarcerated husband. Biegler after much deliberation makes the decision to represent Lieutenant Manion. Biegler realising the chance of getting him off such a charge even with such a strong motivation decides irresistible impulse a version of a temporary insanity as his defence. Biegler finds himself facing District Attorney Mitch Lodwick (Brooks West), the man who ousted him from office, and Assistant State Attorney General Claude Dancer (George C. Scott) an incredibly smart and ambitious man, when the case comes to trial, holding court is Judge Weaver (Joseph N. Welch, a former U.S. Army Head Council).

Adapted by Wendell Mayes from the best-selling novel of the same name written by Michigan Supreme Court Justice John D. Voelker under the pen name Robert Traver. Voelker based the novel on a 1952 murder case in which he was the defense attorney. Most likely Hollywood director Otto Preminger's most well known and successful film. The language used while now would seem tame was considered explicit and in one case saw Preminger go to federal court to defend it when Chicago Police Commissioner and Mayor Richard J. Daley startled by its language banned it in the city, the director won the case and the film was shown, the court found the use of the clinical language that Daley objected to, to be appropriate within the context of the film. While well received on release, the film was nominated for 7 academy awards and Stewart received the best actor award at both the New York Film Critics Circle Awards and Venice Film Festival, the films appreciation has grown even more over the years. The American Bar Association rated this as one of the 12 best trial films of all time and UCLA law professor Michael Asimow calls the picture "probably the finest pure trial movie ever made." It was also listed as Number 4 of 25 "Greatest Legal Movies" by the American Bar Association.

While this clocks in at 161 minutes rarely does it drag or lose your interest, the director uses the first half to introduce the characters and set the scene, the bulk of the second half being the court room. All the actors equip themselves brilliantly both Gazzara and Remick are fine form in the role of the young couple embroiled in the case, Scott's Dancer is a formidable opponent and makes for some effective scenes sparring with Stewart‚(TM)s Biegler. Stewart an actor by this time with a filmography so impressive adds yet another assured and memorable turn, adding his usual intelligent and humorous character to Bieglers crusading Lawyer, not below goading his opponents and intimidating the witnesses and testing Judge Welchs patience. Welch former Head Council for the U.S army gives a dry reading with subtle humour along with Stewart‚(TM)s lighter hearted persona, offering a contrast to the serious clinical nature of the case.

Another impressive element of the film is Duke Ellington's terrific score, which won him a Grammy for best soundtrack, one of the first times Jazz was used predominately in a film. Biegler's character himself a jazz fan duets with Ellington on the piano in a cameo appearance as Pie Eye the owner of a roadhouse that Biegler and Laura have a confrontation at featured early in the film.

Having only caught this film only once before good 25 years ago or so as teenager one night with my Dad, Despite the time gone by the film as always stuck with me but never had a chance to see it again until now. I recently purchased a region free blu ray player, one of the main reasons for this was to take advantage of the Criterion Collection, a home entertainment studio devoted to releasing classic films in HD restored using the latest of technology. Sometimes I feel some people misunderstand the blu ray format, whereas DVD was designed to present a sharper clearer image, blu ray while doing this also allows the film makers and studios to restore the picture closest to when it was originally released.

One of my friends remarked to me last year when I said was buying my Wife a copy of Some Like It Hot on blu ray for Christmas that he thought this pointless and felt that the charm of old black & white films was their old scratchy appearance and the digital medium would ruin this. Although I feel if an old film can be restored to look as impressive or more than on original release then this is a plus and the film can still maintain its character as well as have an appearance that would been only seen by those who witnessed when originally exhibited. This is my first foray into the Criterion studio and I‚(TM)m incredibly impressed, this a new high definition transfer was created on a Spirit 4K in 4K resolution from a new 35mm fine-grain master positive struck from the original camera negative at Cinetech laboratory in Valencia, California. The picture was restored at Technicolor in Los Angeles and Reliance Media Works in Burbank, California. The film still retains its grain but the contrast is maintained throughout , colours appear rich and strong. Having the option of both a new 5.1 DTS HD audio track as well as LPCM 1.0 mono track for more purists. This is indeed an impressive presentation and a suitable treatment of undoubted classic piece of celluloid.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute MUST for courtroom drama and Stewart fans alike!, 20 May 2002
Not only is this one of the top films in the genre, but it was very cutting edge for it's era. Directed by Otto Preminger, who was really pushing the boundaries with this film, it contains great performances from Stewart and Lee Remmick is stunning as the super-flirt wife. The dialogue just sizzles, on the level of Bogart and Bacall. And as if that wasn't reason enough to watch it over and over again, the soundtrack is stunning, written by Duke Ellington, it is the essence of moody gumshoe jazz and swing. I had to buy the soundtrack as well! And it's the best CD to play when you are in a dark mood! That aside, this is an essential, whether you are a Preminger fan, a Hitchcock buff, or even just a jazz fan. Stunning film, and at that price worth buying your mum a copy so she can drool over Jimmy Stooowart.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Anatomy Of A Murder" on BLU RAY - Playability Issues For UK Customers..., 21 Feb 2014
By 
Mark Barry "Mark Barry" - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
Blisteringly good picture quality on this 1959 classic issued by Criterion on BLU RAY in The States in 2012.

But unfortunately that's the end of the good news - because once again Region Coding thwarts film fans in Blighty and Europe.
I say this because this US-only BLU RAY is a REGION-A LOCKED title - so can only be seen on multi-region Blu Ray Players - and they're scarce and very expensive on this side of the pond...(unlike their multi-region DVD counterparts).

Until such time as ”Anatomy Of A Murder” is given a British release by someone else - another classic remains frustratingly out of our reach...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good courtroom drama., 27 Feb 2013
By 
C. MCCARTHY "bruises on my illusions" (Belfast. N,Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Anatomy Of A Murder [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
I was worried that this film may have bored me a little as it is mainly a courtroom drama. I was wrong. It was very exciting, thanks to James Stewart's acting and the clever plot. Very enjoyable.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bachelor lawyer Paul Biegler is hired to defend Lt. Frederick Manion, who has admitted murdering the man who raped his wife., 5 July 2011
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Anatomy Of A Murder [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
Few, if any courtroom dramas have the panache, daring and outright quality that Otto Preminger's genre bar raiser Anatomy Of A Murder has. Hiring Wendell Mayes for screenplay duties and entrusting the role of Biegler to James Stewart, Preminger's picture is still today influencing as much as it enthrals.

Adapted from the novel of the same name by John D. Voelker {alias Robert Traver}, Anatomy Of A Murder is based around the real life 1952 Big Bay Lumberjack Tavern murder trial in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Choosing to shoot much of the film up in that neck of the woods, Preminger was determined to add authenticity to his excellently structured story. With some scenes even shot a short walk away from the actual Lumberjack Tavern in the Thunder Bay Inn. Aiding the authenticity is that Preminger cast Joseph N. Welch, a real life lawyer, in the role of Judge Weaver {tho Burl Ives and Spencer Tracy did turn down the job first}. Welch had made a notable name for himself when representing the U.S. Army in hearings conducted by Senator Joseph McCarthy.

A number of things make Anatomy Of A Murder a classic among classics. From the snazzy Saul Bass opening title credits and the Duke Ellington jazzy score, it's clear this is no ordinary movie. Preminger had to fight tooth and nail with the Hays Code Censors to get his film the way he wanted, the result of which brings frank and daring dialogue featuring words such as "panties," "rape," "contraceptives" and "spermatogenesis". But perhaps most notable, and something of a masterstroke from big Otto, is that we are never shown the crime or influential points of reference. While you will search in vain for shots of the jury reactions during the trial. We as the viewers are part of that jury, much like them we are in the hands of the lawyers and witnesses, only difference being that we are privy to character back story with the principals. Yet it actually makes things harder for us such is the performances from the cast.

Three of the male cast garnered Oscar nominations for their work in the film. James Stewart rewarded Preminger's faith with a fabulous show, his Biegler is gritty and determined, yet engagingly off beat as well. Up against him in the prosecution is a powerful and convincing George C. Scott as Asst. State Atty. Gen. Claude Dancer, whilst Arthur O'Connell as Parnell Emmett McCarthy delivers a memorable performance of substance. But it's with the warring Manions that the piece, played by Ben Gazzara as Frederick {tough, slick and shifty} and Lee Remick as Laura {slutty and duplicitous} achieves its crucial intrigue. Both actors are so good we all are not sure quite what to believe. With the intrigued capped off by a tantalisingly brilliant finale that drips with ambiguity and cheek.

The film was also nominated for awards in the departments of adapted screenplay, cinematography and editing. That it won none is irrelevant {this was the year that Ben-Hur swept the board}, because Anatomy Of A Murder's lasting legacy is that it is still today held up as one of the genre's leading lights, and then some. 10/10
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Film No Matter How You Watch It, 26 Aug 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Anatomy Of A Murder [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
I acquired this DVD for 2 reasons
1) It was cheap (even in US dollars)
2) The US Version is Full Frame
Having watched both the full frame and widescreen versions of this - all I can say is no matter what the argument is on how it is shot, this is one fantastic film, a great courtroom drama with James Stewart, George C Scott,etc. I just love this film; the 2+ hr movie just goes by so quickly for me.
Some websites say it was shot full frame, others say it was widescreen, TCM shows a widescreen (aka letterboxed) version. Basically you can either watch it with more scenery on the top and bottom that may or may not have been to be viewed , or see the widescreen version which may or may not have had the top and bottom cropped..
Now I own the UK and USA versions so I can see it either way and enjoy it no matter how I see it...
This is a GREAT film and a must for courtroom drama fans, James Stewart fans as well as Otto Premminger fans (great director) who in his films was going for a more risky style (panties being mentioned in this movie wasnt exactly commonplace in film making at the time)
This film and Witness For the Prosecution I will highly recommend as they are both excellent courtroom dramas..
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars good, 27 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Anatomy Of A Murder [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
good quick delivery. excellent film really enjoyed watching it again. inspired me so had another cup of tea! Just a joke makes you want to be a lawyer
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars James Stewart at his most outstanding, 2 Feb 2014
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Anatomy Of A Murder [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
A quality film and a quality story. James Stewart for all his great films has arguably never been better than this. Quite brilliant
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Anatomy Of A Murder [DVD] [2001]
Anatomy Of A Murder [DVD] [2001] by Otto Preminger (DVD - 2001)
£3.97
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews