year: 1957
rating: **1/2

Another extremely overrated classic, and this one always compared to Otto Preminger's Anatomy Of A Murder, and Billy Wilder's stagey direction of an Agatha Christie stage-play mystery of Witness for the Prosecution couldn't be more different if it centered on purple unicorns traipsing through Iceland: The first is an existential courtroom drama about a man who's entirely guilty of murder, and here it's obvious someone's not telling the truth. Either a horribly aged once-perfect-looking Tyrone Power (with a gorgeous trophy in the wings played by Ruta Lee, pictured below): he's accused of killing a rich old lady befriended for need of a loan on an egg-beating invention, or the title character in Marlene Dietrich, who gives the best performance overall, especially having to do with a twist that really only works in repose...

Meanwhile, the always great acting team of Charles Laughton, as the flawed defense consul of the English Court, and real life wife-beard Elsa Lanchester, are only pretty good here, going back and forth more like another kind of stage play. Comedy, perhaps. Which simply doesn't fit here, and with everything mounting to the last five minutes, like mysteries do, this isn't one for rewatching: another major difference between Anatomy Of A Murder, a true classic that really needs a divorce from this otherwise semi-decent courtroom melodrama.

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