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on 28 October 2011
A newspaper publisher (Sidney Blackmer) and a writer (Dana Andrews) concoct a plan to show the inherent flaws of capital punishment by planting false evidence at the scene of a crime suggesting that the writer is guilty of murder. Once the writer is convicted of the murder, the publisher will provide evidence of the writer's innocence. Of course, due to unforeseen circumstances something goes horribly wrong. Directed by Fritz Lang, it's an intriguing little thriller but it doesn't carry the weight of Lang's other (better) 1956 film, WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS also starring Andrews. It's ironic "twist" ending can be easily guessed at but it's expertly made nonetheless though Lang doesn't seem much interested in the subject matter. Still, I suppose that won't stop the Lang auteurists from seeing something in it that isn't there. Neither Andrews nor Joan Fontaine as his fiancee seem very present in their scenes but some of the supporting cast, in particular Barbara Nichols, Robin Raymond and Joyce Taylor as three strippers manage to make an impression. This was Lang's last American film before returning to Germany. The cast includes Arthur Franz, Edward Binns, Shepperd Strudwick and Dan Seymour.

The DVD via Expsure cinema is a bit on the soft side, lacking clarity and contrast but still watchable. No doubt Exposure did the best they could with the material available to them. It's presented in a full frame (1.33) aspect ratio.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 16 June 2015
For his final American film (made in 1956) Fritz Lang returned to a number of his pet themes around the human condition and, more specifically, the vagaries of the judicial system, providing a fascinating watch in the process. Based on a story (and with a screenplay) by Douglas Morrow, Lang weaves a multi-stranded (and twisting and turning) narrative as Dana Andrews’ ex-journalist turned novelist, Tom Garrett, in collaboration with Sidney Blackmer’s 'father-in-law-to-be’ and newspaper publisher, Austin Spencer, finds himself accused of murder as the pair’s inventive plan to expose the ease with which the judicial system might miscarry backfires. And, although (for me) Lang (eventually) rather overdoes the plot twists here, the film’s analysis of police and judicial procedures and its underlying anti-capital punishment theme (both 'pet subjects’ harking back 25 years to M) make for highly engaging viewing. The film’s noir-like look is also impressively conveyed (with some stunning use of light) via William Snyder’s black-and-white cinematography.

Morrow’s intricate plot, in which the film’s expansive cast of characters are frequently either professionally or personally interdependent, also allows for a perceptive exploration of potential institutional corruption and exploitation, as journalists have privileged (and influential) access to both the police and judiciary. Acting-wise, Lang’s film is solid rather than spectacular, with Andrews and Blackmer putting in nicely restrained turns, whilst Joan Fontaine’s daughter to Spencer (and Garrett’s intended) is quietly impressive as she is kept in the dark regarding the pair’s intriguing ruse. Also worth a mention are Robin Raymond and Barbara Nichols’ pair of brassy showgirls, Terry and Dolly, who are key to Garrett’s plan to be ‘framed’ for murder and who provide the film’s comedic thread (Nichols impressively played a near identical role in the classic film Sweet Smell Of Success).

The court procedurals are always engaging as Garrett maintains a degree of calm assurance as the innocent man accused – a theme which also calls to mind one of Lang’s most frequent comparators, Hitchcock. The film keeps twisting to the end and even though the final 'fatalistic hairpin’ is perhaps one too many (and less convincing than those preceding), Beyond A Reasonable Doubt represents another worthy film in the Lang oeuvre.
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on 6 March 2013
This film is superbly crafted, draws you into the story, and doesn't let up with it's pace and ingenuity. The quality of the print is good and the DVD is nicely packaged too. This film is well worth watching, you will not be disappointed with the outcome, either with the film or your purchase.
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on 16 January 2012
I would highly recommend this film for the old black & white movie lovers. An interesting story with a twist
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on 7 May 2016
brilliant
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on 3 January 2016
a master piece of suspense
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on 18 November 2013
It was a very good film and surprise at end well worth buying For a present for someone who likes old films
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on 1 March 2015
Fantastic old movie thanks
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on 24 March 2015
Great film
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on 11 September 2014
Thank you! Everything perfect, very satisfied.
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