When Leonard Vole is arrested for the sensational murder of a rich, middle-aged widow, the famous Sir Wilfrid Robarts agrees to appear on his behalf. Sir Wilfrid, recovering from a near-fatal heart attack, is supposed to be on a diet of bland, civil suits—but the lure of the criminal courts is too much for him, especially when the case is so difficult.
- Leonard Vole: Tyrone Power
- Christine Vole: Marlene Dietrich
- Sir Wilfrid Robarts: Charles Laughton
- Miss Plimsoll: Elsa Lanchester
- Brogan-Moore: John Williams
- Mayhew: Henry Daniell
- Carter: Ian Wolfe
- Mr. Myers: Torin Thatcher
- Emily Jane French: Norma Varden
- Janet McKenzie: Una O’Connor
- Judge: Francis Compton
- Inspector Hearne: Philip Tonge
- Diana: Ruta Lee
- Courtroom spectator (uncredited): Bess Flowers
- Hat Store Sales Clerk (uncredited): Leoda Richards
- Court Officer (uncredited): Patrick Aherne
- Courtroom Spectator (uncredited): Eddie Baker
- Juror (uncredited): Brandon Beach
- Juror (uncredited): Colin Kenny
- Juror (uncredited): Fred Rapport
- Courtroom Spectator (uncredited): Danny Borzage
- Courtroom Spectator (uncredited): George Bruggeman
- Courtroom Spectator (uncredited): Steve Carruthers
- Courtroom Spectator (uncredited): Stuart Hall
- Courtroom Spectator (uncredited): Art Howard
- Courtroom Spectator (uncredited): Paul Kruger
- Courtroom Spectator (uncredited): Jeanne Lafayette
- Courtroom Spectator (uncredited): Wilbur Mack
- Courtroom Spectator (uncredited): John Roy
- Courtroom Spectator (uncredited): Scott Seaton
- Courtroom Spectator (uncredited): Cap Somers
- Courtroom Spectator (uncredited): Bert Stevens
- Courtroom Spectator (uncredited): Arthur Tovey
- Courtroom Spectator (uncredited): Glen Walters
- Miss O’Brien (uncredited): Marjorie Eaton
- Barrister (uncredited): Franklyn Farnum
- Barrister (uncredited): William H. O’Brien
- Cafe Patron (uncredited): Michael Jeffers
- Miss Johnson (uncredited): Ottola Nesmith
- Shorts Salesman (uncredited): J. Pat O’Malley
- Bit Part (uncredited): George Pelling
- Doctor (uncredited): Jack Raine
- Clerk at Old Bailey (uncredited): Jeffrey Sayre
- Spotlight Operator in German Cafe (uncredited): Norbert Schiller
- Barrister Reading Charges (uncredited): Ben Wright
- Courtroom Spectator (uncredited): Waclaw Rekwart
- Court Officer (uncredited): Frank McLure
- Bar Patron (uncredited): Walter Bacon
- Courtroom Spectator (uncredited): Herschel Graham
- …: Edna Smith
- …: Marion Gray
- Director: Billy Wilder
- Editor: Daniel Mandell
- Art Direction: Alexandre Trauner
- Makeup Artist: Harry Ray
- Director of Photography: Russell Harlan
- Costume Design: Edith Head
- Makeup Artist: Wally Westmore
- Music Arranger: Leonid Raab
- Novel: Agatha Christie
- Conductor: Ernest Gold
- Dialogue: Noël Coward
- Set Decoration: Howard Bristol
- Screenplay: Harry Kurnitz
- Sound: Fred Lau
- Hairdresser: Nellie Manley
- Executive Producer: Edward Small
- Adaptation: Lawrence B. Marcus
- Hairdresser: Helene Parrish
- Makeup Artist: Gustaf Norin
- Special Effects: Lee Zavitz
- Producer: Arthur Hornblow Jr.
- Makeup Artist: Charles Gemora
- Costume Design: Joe King
- Script Supervisor: John Franco
- Original Music Composer: Matty Malneck
- Costume Design: Adele Parmenter
- Production Supervisor: Ben Hersh
- Assistant Director: Emmett Emerson
- Still Photographer: Madison S. Lacy
- Property Master: Stanley Detlie
- Andres Gomez: Great thriller with superb classical interpretations. The plot moves sometimes too lazily.
- Shreyance Parakh: **Why don’t they make THESE movies anymore?**
Apart from being a **GREAT** courtroom drama_(which some people don’t think this movie is)_, this movie is so much **FUN** and **ENTERTAINING** to watch.Especially because of the characters of _Charles Laughton_ and _Elsa Lanchester_. But _Tyrone Power_ and _Marlene Dietrich_ were convincing too in their portrayal of an _innocent, afraid for his life man and a disloyal, unloving, poker faced wife_ respectively.
Some people might say that they predicted the ending half way down the movie but i am not quite sure as to how they predicted the **ACTUAL ENDING** before it really unfolded before their eyes?
This movie is great not only in the part played in court but also in the scenes shot in _Sir Wilfrid Robarts’s_ office(also due to _Miss Plimsoll’s caringly lovably irritating character!_).
Perhaps the people(the minority I’d like to believe) who don’t think this movie deserves the high ranking and rating that it’s got saw this brilliant piece of art as more of a suspense thriller.But I loved this movie as a delightfully ENTERTAINING, MYSTERIOUS, DRAMA !
I rate this 10 just because I haven’t seen any other CLASSIC courtroom drama that was intense throughout(barring some light hearted scenes with Sir Wilfrid Robarts) and yet in the end I somehow felt light-hearted and had a smile on my face rather than a thought provoking look on it.
The commentary in the ending credits was innocently adorable for our times of social networking _”The management of this theater suggests that for the greater entertainment of your friends who have not yet seen the picture you will not divulge to anyone the secret of the ending of Witness for the Prosecution!”_
And mind you I am a _big fan of 12 Angry Men and How to Kill a Mockingbird!_ But this movie too is equally good in a different way altogether!
- John Chard: I’m constantly surprised that women’s hats don’t provoke more murders.
Leonard Steven Vole finds himself on trial for the murder of a wealthy widow from whom he has inherited a fortune. Top barrister Sir Wilfrid Robarts takes up the defendants case, but he, along with everyone else, is stunned when Vole’s seemingly loving wife Christine turns up to testify against the defendant.
Based on Agatha Christie’s successful 1953 play, “Witness For The Prosecution” benefited from fine tuning from master director Billy Wilder and writing partner Harry Kurnitz. Here the dialogue becomes razor sharp and the characters are fully realised with quite wonderful results, but chiefly the masterstroke here is not letting a court room drama become just that, a court room drama. The film plays out with no wasted scenes, no moments of boredom, and it has such vim and vigour you sometimes forget that there actually is drama in the story.
The cast here are on fine form, Wilder had wanted to work with Charles Laughton for some time, and it’s obvious that both parties here are getting the best out of each other. Laughton is a pure delight as Robarts, a sharp tongue, all bluster and cheeky into the bargain, his interplay with Miss Plimsoll (Laughton’s real life wife Elsa Lanchester) is quality, and it’s another testament to Wilder’s genius for putting them together. Tyrone Power, in what would be his last completed film before sadly passing away, is devilishly smart as Vole, whilst Torin Thatcher is great as the gruff prosecution barrister Myers. Yet as good as they all are, they all sit in the shadow of Marlene Dietrich and her turn as Christine Vole, sultry and femme fatalistic, it’s a sizzling performance that crowns this delightful film.
It occurred to me overnight that it’s probably the closest film that Wilder got to being Hitchcockian, and I’m pretty sure the big master of suspense himself would have enjoyed this one. It’s a mystery that is dramatic, it’s a thriller that is also funny, it’s pretty much a multi genre classic. 9/10
You must log in to post a comment.