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Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956)

Not Rated | | Crime, Film-Noir, Drama | 5 September 1956 (USA)
A novelist aided by his future father-in-law conspires to frame himself in the murder of a stripper as part of an effort to ban capital punishment.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Tom Garrett
...
Susan Spencer
...
Austin Spencer
...
Bob Hale
Philip Bourneuf ...
Dist. Atty. Roy Thompson
...
Lt. Kennedy
Shepperd Strudwick ...
Jonathan Wilson
...
Terry Larue
...
Dolly Moore
William F. Leicester ...
Charlie Miller (as William Lester)
Dan Seymour ...
Greco
Rusty Lane ...
Judge
Joyce Taylor ...
Joan Williams
...
Allan Kirk
Trudy Wroe ...
Hatcheck Girl
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Storyline

Investigative reporter Tom Garrett is on leave from his newspaper job to work on his second novel. As Tom is having problems writing that second book, his boss and future father-in-law, newspaper publisher Austin Spencer, suggests he write a non-fiction book on capital punishment in their state instead. Both Austin and Tom have long believed that the state district attorney, Roy Thompson, has been able to manipulate juries into rendering wrongful guilty verdicts leading to the deaths of innocent people on death row. The plan would be to plant evidence leading to a guilty verdict of an innocent person in a murder case, Tom to be that innocent person. Austin and Tom would document all that planted evidence, and make it public after the rendering of the guilty verdict to reverse that wrongful verdict and hopefully lead to discussion of the merits of abolishing capital punishment. They decide that the fewer people that know about the plan, the better, which means not telling Tom's fiancée... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

What kind of man would frame himself for MURDER? See more »

Genres:

Crime | Film-Noir | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 September 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jenseits allen Zweifels  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

2.00 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The last film that Fritz Lang made in the USA before returning to Germany. See more »

Quotes

Terry Larue: [about Garrett] How much do you know about that guy?
Dolly Moore: He's the best score I've made in a long time.
See more »

Connections

Remade as Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Beyond A Reasonable Doubt
Sung by The Hi-Los (as The Hi-Lo's)
Music by Herschel Burke Gilbert
Lyrics by Alfred Perry
See more »

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User Reviews

 
One-off storyline deserves to be seen
29 April 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT isn't a bad slice of 1950s crime and indeed it has one of those one-off story lines (like DOA) which is thoroughly intriguing. The film involves a crusading journalist, staunchly fighting against the death sentence, who decides to implicate himself in a murder case in a bid to expose flaws in the justice system. Inevitably it all goes wrong, with horrendous consequences for himself and his loved ones.

The film is directed by Fritz Lang and is his last American movie, and you can sense his heart wasn't really in the material. The ending in particular feels tacked on and unbelievable. As a whole the film lacks the sense of mystery and atmosphere of the likes of WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS and SCARLET STREET, but that's not to say it's bad; it just could have been even better.

None of these things change the fact that the plot's a good 'un, even if there's one twist too many along the way. Dana Andrews makes for a solid and dependable leading man as always, and it's nice to see Joan Fontaine playing his love interest, even if she has little to do. Lang directs the various shock and drama scenes effectively and the courtroom spectacle is where this film comes to life, but something I can't quite put my finger on is lacking so I was left slightly disappointed.


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