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James Curtayne has retired from law but he returns to defend John O'Hara on a murder charge. Curtayne's drinking and rustiness result in O'Hara's being found guilty, but Curtayne makes further efforts to prove him innocent. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
Spencer Tracy plays a seasoned attorney with his work cut out for him defending a young man in a murder trial. In some ways a routine courtroom drama, but it goes beyond that. Tracy is terrific, doing his usual crusty cynic bit but that's what we love him for. The role has some depth to it, as the character is a struggling alcoholic who makes a mistake in a moment of weakness. The rest of the cast doesn't match his performance, although John Hodiak is pretty good as the opposing counsel. The plot takes some interesting turns and goes into true noir territory in the third act. And cinematography by John Alton... need I say more? Those brilliant patches of light amidst deep, deep shadows look fantastic as always. I'll be honest, courtroom movies don't generally excite me, but this one is a cut above the usual fare.
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