6.9/10
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An Act of Murder (1948)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 18 December 1948 (Sweden)
A hard-line judge is tempted toward mercy-killing by his wife's terminal cancer.

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Writers:

(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
David Douglas
...
Catherine Cooke
...
Ellie Cooke
...
Doctor Walter Morrison
...
Judge Ogden
Frederic Tozere ...
Charles Dayton
...
Judge Jim Wilder
Virginia Brissac ...
Mrs. Russell
...
Mr. Russell
Mary Servoss ...
Julia
...
Pearson
...
Mr. Pope
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Storyline

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 <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

MERCY or MURDER? Can you condemn this man?

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 December 1948 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Live Today for Tomorrow  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Florence Eldridge, who portrays Fredric March's wife, also portrayed his wife twelve years later in 'Inherit the Wind'. The two actors were married in real life. See more »

Goofs

Neither the city nor county where the courthouse is said to be located and the majority of the movie take place, are actual places in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. See more »

Quotes

Doctor Walter Morrison: What is incurable today is curable next Wednesday.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Universal Story (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A tough one
16 March 2015 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

Caught this tough 1948 drama on TCM, which seems to have been out of circulation for a while. It's about a tough, by-the-book judge (Fredric March) who discovers his wife (Florence Eldridge, March's real-life spouse) has a fatal, painful disease, and rather clumsily plots a mercy killing. This means that for much of the film's length we have to watch Eldridge suffer, suffer, and it's quite uncomfortable viewing. There are plot conveniences that one other poster lists, and also the debatable position posed by the family doctor (Stanley Ridges, also good) that Eldridge should be lied to about her prognosis. Hal Mohr's photography thrusts itself deep into the Marches' anguish, and plot and subplot are contrivedly merged when Edmond O'Brien, as the liberal attorney who's romancing the Marches' daughter (Geraldine Brooks), injects himself into March's murder trial. Then there's some unconvincing, unsolvable philosophizing about euthanasia, and fadeout. I find a number of faults: Daniel Amfitheatrof's hyperactive musical score, which needlessly underlines everything, and was there ever a less appealing juvenile than pudgy, charmless Edmond O'Brien? But the issues are real, the debate is tense, and Mr. and Mrs. March are superb. Now if only TCM would find a way to show their other excellent co-starring vehicle from back then, also Universal and also directed by Michael Gordon, "Another Part of the Forest."


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