Two innocent men are wrongly convicted of murder and sentenced to death. The fiance of one of them convinces a police detective of their innocence, and together they try to find the real ... See full summary »
Two innocent men are wrongly convicted of murder and sentenced to death. The fiance of one of them convinces a police detective of their innocence, and together they try to find the real killer before the men's execution date. Written by
According to The New York Times review, the title of Joseph F. Dinneen's story was "Murder in Massachusetts," but it was not mentioned in the credits because of a vague threat by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which did not wish any implication of inefficiency of its police, prosecutor or court system. The story was based on the fact that two taxicab drivers were identified by seven of eight witnesses as two of the three men who murdered a man during a 1934 theater robbery in Lynn, Massachusetts. Their trial was in progress for two weeks when the real killers were captured in New York City and confessed; the taxicab drivers were released and two of the three criminals were eventually executed. See more »
This was a very good film even though I initially had relatively low expectations. Part of this is because just before this, I saw a passable Henry Fonda film (SLIM) and I think it made me remember that like any actor, Fonda could make mediocre films. But LET US LIVE! is anything but mediocre, since it has a very thought-provoking script that might just get you to re-evaluate what you think of the death penalty. While I am generally in favor of it when there is absolutely no doubt, this film strongly and competently makes the point that innocent men CAN be convicted wrongly and that the system might be rather indifferent to correcting this even when doubt as to the justification for the conviction arises. Again and again throughout the film, supposedly good men seem indifferent to the possibility that Fonda and his friend could be innocent--and they convince themselves that the system cannot make mistakes or that people must allow the system to work everything out in the end! In spite of this indifference, Maureen O'Sullivan and Ralph Bellamy work their darnedest to prove that the men were wronged.
As I said, the plot is very well-constructed and thought-provoking. While at times the performances might seem a tad overly melodramatic, considering what's at stake, it was forgivable. An excellent drama and one that makes you think. About the only negative was that O'Sullivan's Irish accent seemed a bit out of place, though her performance and Fonda's were just fine.
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