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16 user 6 critic

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:
...
Judge Calvin Cooke
...
...
Catherine Cooke
...
...
...
Judge Ogden
Frederic Tozere ...
Charles Dayton
...
Judge Jim Wilder
Virginia Brissac ...
Mrs. Russell
...
Mr. Russell
...
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

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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

While the setting was Pennsylvania, the outdoor highway scenes were obviously shot in California. 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

 
Excellent but it loses its way towards the end.
30 August 2014 | by See all my reviews

I watched "An Act of Murder" because I love the actors Frederic March and Edmund O'Brien. Both were Oscar-winning actors who were not exactly handsome (especially as they aged) and managed to give one impressive performance after another over the decades. Sadly, however, despite having two excellent stars, the film lost its momentum towards the end.

When the film begins, March plays a tough-as-nails judge and O'Brien a bleeding-heart defense attorney. The two don't like each other all that much--and late in the film, O'Brien's character comes to the judge's defense when he's on trial for a mercy killing. In between is the part of the film I loved most--and which is totally obscured by the ending which is filled with speechifying and some bizarre behavior by March's character. It's a shame, as the idea of mercy killing and medical ethics are really interesting topics and it's pretty amazing to see them talked about in the 1940s, as usually films deliberately avoided this back in the day.


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