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The midnight murder of a rancher and his wife leaves circumstantial evidence pointing the finger of guilt toward a married couple, George Braden and his wife Ellen, who live and work on the ranch. George confesses to the killings in order to free his wife from hours of grilling by the police. Despite the best efforts of his defense attorney, Doug Madison , George gets the death penalty. Sunsequent events and his sympathy for Ellen convince Doug that George is innocent but he must find the real murderer to prove it. His man-hunt leads to a former hired hand, Max Verne. With the help of the latter's greedy girl friend, Gracie Sanger, Max is found and admits to the killings. But when a hearing is held, a psychiatrist pronounces him unsound of mind but harmless and the judge sets him free. After the governor rejects Doug's pleas for an appeal for George, the townspeople turn against him, and his fiancée, Paula Mitchener), misconstrues his association with Ellen and breaks their engagement... Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
When John Alton agreed to photograph this picture, he asked producer Benedict Bogeaus how much he had budgeted for rigging, the system of overhead pipes, brackets, ropes and cables that suspends lights over a film set. Bogeaus told him $4,000. "Give me $2,000 above my salary and I won't use any rigging," Alton said. He did it by using almost no overhead lighting at all, contributing to the film's rich visual atmosphere. See more »
MacDonald Carey stars as an Atticus Finch like attorney in Count The Hours where he's asked to defend George Craven who is accused of killing an elderly rancher and his wife. From the reactions around the town the two were beloved in the community and everyone just wants to hang Craven and be quick about it.
His defense of Craven puts Carey's own relationship with rich girl friend Dolores Moran in jeopardy. And he's certainly not winning any popularity contest defending Craven. Still Carey soldiers on until the truth emerges.
Don Siegel got some beautiful performances from several of his cast members. First Teresa Wright as Craven's wife who is the picture of innocence. Her innocence makes you the audience as well as Carey believe in the rightness of the cause. Also Adele Mara poaches on what is usually Gloria Grahame territory. She plays a real low life white trash slut and she does it magnificently.
Finally though there's Jack Elam who was a former hand at the deceased's place and he's a former mental patient. That blind eye of Elam's served him so well in films he could play some really loony characters. Elam is at his bug-eyed best in this part.
It's sad that Don Siegel did not have a bigger budget to work with. As it is Count The Hours is a real noir classic and Carey's Dave Madison belongs right up there with Atticus Finch in the pantheon of film's incorruptible men of the law.
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