Top 25 Movies: 04
Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
Otto Preminger directs this realistic study of an Army lieutenant accused of murdering a bartender who allegedly raped his coquettish wife. An A-list cast is headed by James Stewart as the defense attorney, George C. Scott as prosecutor, Ben Gazzara as the defendant and Lee Remick as his wife.
The surprise, though, is the stupendous performance in the role of the judge by real-life lawyer Joseph Welch, who represented the Army in the McCarthy hearings. The plot skips nimbly through a thicket of ethical dilemmas involved in representing a murder defendant.
It was inspired by an actual case and adapted from a novel written by a Michigan supreme court judge. The original score is by Duke Ellington, who makes a cameo.
TRIVIA: Nominated for seven Oscars. Lost for “Best Picture” to Ben-Hur.