This is my first time doing the Thursday Movie Pics run by the Wandering Through the Shelves blog. This week's theme is legal thrillers, and I've decide to select three old ones:
They Won't Forget (1937). Claude Rains stars as Andy Griffin, an ambitious prosecutor in a southern town. There's a murder of a teenage girl, and eventually suspicion falls on poor innocent northerner, Robert Hale (played by Edward Norris). Much of the case is about the trial and the aftermath. Claude Rains is technically miscast as a southern DA, but it's Claude Rains. He was even more woefully cast in his career (They Made Me a Criminal springs to mind), but you overlook it because of course it's Claude Rains, and he's just so darn good. Perhaps the most interesting thing about the movie is that it's based on the real-life case of Leo Frank.
Twilight of Honor (1963). Claude Rains shows up again, this time at the end of his career. There's been a high-profile murder in a New Mexico town, and an ambitious prosecutor wants to use the case to advance his career. To do so, the authorities impress young David Mitchell (Richard Chamberlain) into being the defense attorney, something he feels woefully unsuited to do. But with the help of his girlfriend's (Joan Blackman) father, a retired lawyer played by Claude Rains, Mitchell tries a daring defense similar to the one in Anatomy of a Murder. Apparently this one has been released to DVD via the Warner Archive collection; I thought it hadn't which is why I never blogged about it after I finally got around to watching it.
The Paradine Case (1947). This time, it's Gregory Peck playing the defense attorney, a London barrister named Anthony Keane. He gets tasked with the defense of Madame Paradine (Alida Valli, credited only under her surname), accused of murdering her husband with the help of her valet lover (Louis Jourdan). Keane falls for Mme. Paradine, which is a problem, since he's already married (to Ann Todd). Charles Laughton plays the judge, and Charles Coburn plays Paradine's solicitor (remember, in English law, solicitors can't try cases in court, which is why he has to bring in Keane). Everybody is good, even if the Americans are decidedly not British.
Underrated '87 - Arik Devens
2 hours ago