Agatha Christie tale of a man on trial for murder: a trial featuring surprise after surprise. [imdb]
Nominated for 6 Oscars:
Best Director: Billy Wilder
Best Actor: Charles Laughton
Best Supporting Actress: Elsa Lanchester
A classic I had never seen before, but I've heard this week that it has one of the trickiest twists in all movie history, so I thought of checking it out. The second reason: I wanted to see what's all about Marlene Dietrich's NOT-Oscar nominated performance and if the debate on the performance is justified. And also because Charles Laughton is easily becoming one of my favorite actors.
It's hard to talk about the film or Marlene without spoiling the plot. I, for one, did not expect the twist up until the last minute, nor that big character surprise (can't say it outloud) that's the key to the film. Both were deliciously interesting and in the pure Agatha Christie style. What I did not enjoy were the last 3-5 minutes, an ending that felt exagerated and could've functioned better.
Charles Laughton is excellent as the old lawyer and I think he deserved to win the Oscar. Elsa Lanchester won the Golden Globe (what the hell?!) and received an Oscar nomination for a pointless performance (just like her previous nomination for Come to the Stable). Tyrone Power was good and Marlene would've deserved a Best Actress nomination, but not a win, as her acting does feel a bit dated at times. I need to watch The Bridge on the River Kwai again and get familiar with 12 Angry Men to say exactly which one deserved the Best Picture win. Witness for the Prosecution is a solid, serious film, relaxing and intriguing.
My rating for the film: 8/10. Too bad for those last minutes and thank God for Charles Laughton.