March 06, 2013

Witness for the Prosecution



Shala from Life Between Films hosted a "London in Genres" blogathon, where several people recommended movies that are about or set in London. There's one movie for each genre and the full list has amazing recommendations.

Here's mine, about the movie Witness for the Prosecution in the Classics genre:

Witness for the Prosecution pays homage to two British institutions: London’s Central Criminal Courts, a.k,a the Old Bailey, and Agatha Christie.

Based on one of her plays, Witness for the Prosecution is a mystery classic directed by Billy Wilder, but many people think it was directed by Alfred Hitchcock (a pretty neat compliment for a suspense movie, wouldn’t you say?)

Sir Wilfrid (Charles Laughton) is a London barrister defending Leonard Vole (Tyrone Power), an American veteran accused of murder.

Not much more can be said without spoiling the movie. When it was first screened, movie goers had to sign a written statement saying "I solemnly swear I will not reveal the ending of Witness for the Prosecution." 

Just like in a theater play, most of the movie’s action happens in one place, the Old Bailey. And Sir Wilfrid prefers to hang out in there instead of going to the sunny Bahamas to recover from his heart attack. I’m not surprised: with all those twists and turns, Marlene Dietrich’s enigmatic coolness and the funny bickering with his nurse, I would too.

Have you seen Witness for the Prosecution? What are your favorite London-based movies?

4 comments:

  1. LOVE!! I simply love this movie! It's one of our favorite at home (with Oscar, The Holy Grail & a couple of others).Charles Laughton & Elsa Lanchester are simply brilliant, Tyrone Power is great in his last movie, & Marlene Dietrich is SUPERB!! Ok, Billy Wilder is a great director, too.
    As my mom use to say: Ok, it's another movie from that crazy old lady ...

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    1. I like it a lot too! (Probably saw it for the first time in your house.)
      I was amazed to discover that Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester were married in real life - their fights are so funny. xx

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  2. I've been thinking about this one. I'm surprisingly weak on London-based movies. Recently I've loved seeing modern London in the new BBC Sherlock TV series. It really does seem to do for modern London what the original Holmes stories did for Victorian London. It shows how magnificent and exciting, and how dark, dingy and threatening, London can be.

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    1. I've never watched BBC's Sherlock, is the one with Benedict Cumber...something, right? You made me interested in it now, I'll try watching some episodes. There are many interesting movies set in London (including the ones based on John Le Carre's novels, I assume) but I really like 84 Charing Cross Road. xx

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