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The People Against O'Hara (1951)

Jim Curtayne, formerly a successful defense attorney who is now a recovering alcoholic, attempts a comeback when he defends a neighbor's son a homicide charge.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
James P. Curtayne
...
Det. Vincent Ricks
...
Virginia 'Ginny' Curtayne
...
District Attorney Louis Barra
...
Sol 'Knuckles' Lanzetta
...
John Fordman 'Johnny' O'Hara
Yvette Duguay ...
Mrs. Katrina Lanzetta
...
Sven Norson
...
Frank Korvac
...
Jeff Chapman
Henry O'Neill ...
Judge Keating
Arthur Shields ...
Mr. O'Hara
Louise Lorimer ...
Mrs. Peg O'Hara
...
Betty Clark, Policewoman
Emile Meyer ...
Capt. Tom Mulvaney
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Storyline

Jim Curtayne, formerly a successful criminal defense attorney and currently a recovering alcoholic, has turned to civil law because of his problems with the bottle, daughter Ginny delays marrying in order to keep her dad on the straight and narrow, but when the son of neighborhood friends is accused of murder, he is lured into returning to criminal law. Complications arise as the initially overconfident Curtayne experiences lapses inn memory and judgment as well as an uncooperative client. He finds himself well over his head as he tries to reclaim his self-confidence and professional standing. Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

O'HARA MIGHT BEAT MURDER - IF HIS LAWYER CAN BEAT THE BOTTLE! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 September 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Le peuple accuse O'Hara  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although almost all of the film takes place in New York City, there is less than 5 minutes of footage filmed on location in the City of New York. See more »

Goofs

When Curtayne walks up to the bar to order a short beer, a moving shadow of the boom microphone and cables can be seen in the mirror behind the bar. See more »

Quotes

Photographer: [as Curtayne enters the court] James P. Curtayne - complete with carnation.
James P. Curtayne: [Confidently] Never enter the ring without it.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Battle's In the Bottle
13 May 2002 | by (brighton, ma) – See all my reviews

The People Against O'Hara is a slightly offbeat film to have come out in 1951. It's both a crime picture and a fairly realistic study of alcoholism. The photography is by noir tyro John Alton, and in many of its night-time and shadowy scenes the movie looks like a thriller, which it really isn't. Director John Sturges was an up and comer at the MGM of this time, and the film was one of the earlier shots at A level film-making. The cast,--Spencer Tracy, Diana Lynn, Pat O'Brien, John Hodiak--are all fine.

I can't say that the script is any great shakes, but it gets the job done. The story goes off in several directions, as it deals with everything from father-daughter love to gangsters. I like the film more than most people and think that had the script been tidied up it might have been a great movie. There are some splendid moments, and one in the courtroom in particular stands out, when a young thug delivers such a double-talking testimony that lawyer Tracy almost has a nervous breakdown while questioning him. The kid senses that Tracy is vulnerable and keeps on twisting his words deliberately, and Tracy goes for the bait. It's a tough scene to watch, alternately sad, realistic and infuriating.

Tracy plays his role as a recovering alcoholic with sincerity and a conspicuous absence of sentiment. This man is not a saint and never was. Even when clean and sober he's a far cry from perfect, and he always will be.


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