Thursday, February 3, 2011

Witness For The Prosecution(1957).

Witness For The Prosecution(1957). Courtroom drama, based on a short story by Agatha Christie dealing with the trial of a man accused of murder. Cast: Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, and Charles Laughton, and features Elsa Lanchester, Laughton's wife. Director: Billy Wilder.

Just after leaving the hospital Sir Wilfrid Robarts, returns to his office with his overbearing nurse, Miss Plimsoll, when Mayhew and his client, Leonard Vole, come to see him about an important case.

Mayhew believes that Leonard will be charged with the murder of wealthy widow Emily Jane French because it was well known that he was with her the day she was killed. Leonard says that he was in the army and stationed in Germany, where he met his wife German actress, Christine.

Leonard says that he is had been trying to find someone to help finance his new eggbeater invention and that is when he first met with Mrs. French. He had hoped that Mrs. French would finance his work.

Later, Sir Wilfrid questions Leonard on what happened on the night of the murder and his relationship with Mrs. French. Leonard does not change his story, making Sir Wilfrid believe he is innocent.

The case becomes complicated when Vole's only alibi is his wife, who agrees to be a witness for the prosecution.

Dietrich character is very calculating and she and Tyrone are the star attractions, but... Charles Laughton steals the show with his whit. The plot has many twists 'n' turns...

Fun Facts:

This was the final film for Tyrone Power.

This was Una O'Connor's last big screen motion picture.

William Holden was the first choice for Leonard, but he was unavailable. Other actors considered for the role included Gene Kelly, Kirk Douglas, Glenn Ford, Jack Lemmon, and even Roger Moore. Eventually, Tyrone Power accepted the role when he was offered both Witness for the Prosecution (1957) and Solomon and Sheba (1959). Before he could complete Solomon however, Power had a fatal heart attack and was replaced by Yul Brynner.

Ava Gardner and Rita Hayworth were also considered for the role of Christine Helm.

Elsa Lanchester (28 October 1902 – 26 December 1986). Studied dance as a child and began performing in theater and cabaret. She met the actor Charles Laughton in 1927, and they were married two years later. She began playing small roles with Laughton in, The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933).

Her role in, Bride of Frankenstein (1935), came to be one of the roles most closely associated with her throughout her life.

She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for, Come to the Stable (1949) and Witness for the Prosecution (1957), the last of twelve films in which she appeared with Laughton.

Following Laughton's death in 1962, Lanchester made appearances in Disney films: Mary Poppins (1964), That Darn Cat! (1965) and Blackbeard's Ghost (1968). The horror film, Willard, (1971) and one of her last roles was in, Murder By Death (1976).


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