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Johnny Mack Brown,
This dramatization of a factual incident opens in a quiet Connecticut town where a kindly priest is murdered while waiting at a street corner. The citizens are horrified and demand action from the police. All of the witnesses identify John Waldron, a nervous out-of-towner, as the killer. Although Waldron vehemently denies the crime, no one will believe him. District Attorney Henry Harvey is then put on the case and faces political opposition in his attempt to prove Waldron's innocence. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Playwright Arthur Miller is the tall suspect in the line-up. He was close to director Elia Kazan who would two years later direct Miller's "Death of a Salesman" on Broadway. For the play, Kazan plucked Boomerang's Lee J. Cobb to play Willy Loman, and for his son Biff, Arthur Kennedy. See more »
[Camera close-up on an open book]:
The primary duty of a lawyer exercising the office of public prosecutor is not to convict, but to see that justice is done. -The Lawyers' Code of Ethics.
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This is a pretty good, taut, realistic, gritty film-noirish film from the camera lens of Elia Kazan. Kazan gives us the story of a Connetticut district attorney bumping the legal establishment in Hartford by NOT railroading a suspect who he knows to be innocent despite exhausting pressures to prosecute from local elected officials, businessmen, police, etc... The film, as previously noted, has a semi-documentary feel to it - all due to Kazan's expertise behind the camera. Whilst the story certainly is engaging, the acting is all high-level here with Dana Andrews doing a fine job as Henry L. Harvey the attorney faced with an ethical dilemma. Andrews acting range is not too wide but he delivers here and is more than ably assisted by men(and women) like Ed Begley as a businessman gone bad, Jane Wyatt as his lovely wife(Andrews's wife that is),Arthur Kennedy as the suspect with seemingly little to say, and a couple of Kazan would-be regulars - Lee J. Cobb doing a phenomenal job as a decent yet hard-headed police chief and Karl Malden as a police detective. Kazan shows us the story from many angles and has the benefit of having a real story as the basis of his film. We see the angles of different political opponents, a jealous/crazy girlfriend, local people who saw the crime of a priest being shot, and the journalists who try to scare up any angle they can. Some scenes are quite jarring like the confession scene. Arthur Miller, the great American playwright is seen briefly in a scene of suspects being lined-up. He was Kazan's close friend.
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