After a boiler explosion aboard an aging ocean liner, a man struggles to free his injured wife from the wreckage of their cabin and ensure the safety of their four-year-old daughter as the ship begins to sink.
Andrew L. Stone
During World War II, tug boats conduct what are called salvage missions - picking up disabled ships. Not well equipped with weaponry, the tugs are sitting ducks for enemy fire. As such, the... See full summary »
John Forbes is a family man who's tired of the 9 to 5 humdrum of his job an insurance company executive. Life gets a little more exciting for him when he calls upon femme fatale Mona ... See full summary »
When spoiled young heiress Maggie Richards tries to charge some gasoline at an auto camp run by Bill Davis, he makes her work out her bill by making beds. Resolving to get even, she ... See full summary »
Olivia de Havilland,
A Bank officer discovers a flaw in the U.S. extradition treaty with Brazil and decides to take advantage of it. On Friday, he steals a million dollars from the bank, knowing it won't be ... See full summary »
Andrew L. Stone
The uptight and dumb small time thief Nick Robey and his partner and only friend Al Molin steal $10,000.00 from a man, but the heist goes wrong. Al Molin is killed by a policeman and Nick ... See full summary »
Thrown out of her home after her husband discovers her infidelity, a woman sinks into degradation. Twenty years later, she is charged with killing a man bent on revealing her degraded ... See full summary »
In this pre-Pearl Harbor recruiting poster, colonel's estranged son Bill Burke, football hero Donald Morse, and hillbilly Jeff Hollis enlist in the paratroopers. Their training at Fort ... See full summary »
A conscientious attorney who is a member of the State Parole Board, finds his own son, using an alias, up for parole and makes the decision to cast the approving vote. This turns out to ... See full summary »
Bob Brent, a young Marine from Arkansas, impresses his comrades with his singing ability, and they pitch in to send him to New York to compete in an amateur contest. Success in the contest,... See full summary »
Judge Cooke, good husband and father, is known in court as Old Man Maximum. Cooke's daughter loves defender Dave Douglas, who hates Cooke's attitude toward defendants. Cooke's life shatters when he learns his wife has terminal brain cancer; as her pain worsens, he begins to consider mercy-killing, but that would place him in the position of a defendant. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
"Nemo me impune lacessit," the Latin phrase quoted by Judge Wilder during the dinner party, means "No one attacks me unpunished." It is the motto of the Scottish Order of the Thistle, and is also used on certain Scottish and British royal coats of arms. See more »
The concept of tempering legality with compassion is a daring, slippery slope. It is today as it was in 1948 when this challenging film was released.
Fortunately, this drama has the great acting team Florence Eldridge and Fredric March in the lead roles, lending both power and sensitivity to their characterizations. While conceding that the law must by its nature be clear and committed, one can also empathize with the human challenges faced in the case of a terminally ill loved one who is in great pain and suffering.
Where does one draw the line in such cases, especially when a spouse accused of murder emphatically pleads guilty? It's a tough situation created here, and one that must either tread the path of legal justice or find extenuating circumstances to help relieve the inevitable sentence.
"An Act of Murder" manages to walk this tightrope with considerable balance, thanks to an outstanding cast and some petty talented writers. The film also may be considered a "lost work," despite the pairing of Mr. and Mrs. March in the lead roles.
It's also interesting to see only a single bona fide professional review in the IMDb, as though this subject may have been (and still may be) too tough to handle. The most complete review (by Bosley Crowther of the NY Times) expresses the critic's general reaction without declaring a firm stance on the controversial subject of euthanasia. And perhaps this is the best we can ever get, for the topic may be too challenging for us mortals to ever definitively solve.
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