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For the Defense (1930)

 -  Drama  -  19 July 1930 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 204 users  
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William Powell plays William Foster, a slick attorney who stays within the law, but specializes in representing crooks and shady characters. He's adept at keeping them out of jail, winning ... See full summary »


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Title: For the Defense (1930)

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Cast overview:
Irene Manners
Scott Kolk ...
Jack Defoe
William B. Davidson ...
District Attorney Herbert L. Stone
Thomas E. Jackson ...
Harry Walker ...
James Finlayson ...
Charles West ...
Bertram Marburgh ...
Judge Evans


William Powell plays William Foster, a slick attorney who stays within the law, but specializes in representing crooks and shady characters. He's adept at keeping them out of jail, winning acquittals, and having decisions reversed, thus springing criminals out of prison. He is romantically involved with dancer Irene Manners (Kay Francis), who is two-timing him, although she wants to marry him. She kills a man driving while out with her other man, Jack Defoe (Scott Kolk), who takes the blame. Unfortunately, a ring Foster had just given Irene is found at the crime scene. Foster ends up defending Jack, but when the ring is found, he thinks he is protecting Irene, so pleads guilty to jury tampering, which he had done for the first time to save Irene. After his plea, the the prosecuting DA confides that Jack would have gotten off... Written by Becie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

19 July 1930 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Defesa que Humilha  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Paramount production numbers 805 and 1265 (for Hollywood and New York offices). See more »


William Foster: [Addressing the jury on summation] Gentlemen, I'm not going to give you the usual baloney.
See more »


References Shoulder Arms (1918) See more »

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User Reviews

A fine courtroom drama featuring the chemistry of Powell and Francis
27 August 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

But, for that matter, what movie did William Powell and Kay Francis team up in that wasn't a fine example of movie-making? William Powell plays William Foster, a flamboyant and successful defense lawyer that reminds me of Powell's Thin Man character except, unlike Nick Charles, William Foster is an unhappy man at his core. He gets drunk and pretty much stays that way to soothe this unnamed pain, not to add to the edge of a giddily happy life. His long-time lover, Irene Manners (Kay Francis), is the one thing he claims he can depend upon, but whenever he says this you get the feeling that he counts not even on that. Marriage is out of the question from Foster's standpoint, but Kay wants matrimony and finds someone who offers it in a less interesting package than Foster in the person of wealthy Jack Defoe. Jack and Irene meet late one night and take a ride in Jack's car to talk things out about the future - Irene is still unsure about how she wants to proceed. Irene is driving because Jack had been drinking. When Jack gets fresh, he causes the car to swerve and Irene hits a pedestrian. Jack sobers up quickly at this point and tells Irene to run away so he can claim responsibility for the wreck alone as he fears for Irene's reputation whether she is named as the driver or just a passenger. Unfortunately for Jack the pedestrian is dead. Also unfortunately for Jack, he still has the smell of alcohol on his breath when the police arrive.

Now Jack is up for manslaughter. Foster has never liked Defoe because he considers him a spoiled brat, and now Irene is begging Foster to defend Defoe in spite of that, all the time trying to keep from Foster the fact that she was with Jack that night and that they were talking marriage. Defoe is maintaining the same charade as Irene. Meanwhile the district attorney and the police have had just about enough of Foster winning every case he takes and are keeping a close eye on his business practices. Who will go to jail? Will anybody go to jail? Watch and find out.

William Powell and Kay Francis were always great together because they usually played less than perfect people that made the perfect couple. Regardless of how things worked out for them at the end of their films, you just felt their characters were soul mates. This film is a great showcase of their talents when they were at the peak of their popularity in the 30's.

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