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Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956)

Not Rated  |   |  Crime, Film-Noir, Drama  |  5 September 1956 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 2,879 users  
Reviews: 50 user | 19 critic

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
Arthur Franz ...
Bob Hale
Philip Bourneuf ...
Dist. Atty. Roy Thompson
...
Lt. Kennedy
Shepperd Strudwick ...
Jonathan Wilson
Robin Raymond ...
Terry Larue
...
Dolly Moore
William F. Leicester ...
Charlie Miller (as William Lester)
Dan Seymour ...
Greco
Rusty Lane ...
Judge
Joyce Taylor ...
Joan Williams
Carleton Young ...
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

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

2.00 : 1
See  »
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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

Austin Spencer: [to Garrett] You get engaged to my daughter, and all you can think about is capital punishment?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Recess: Beyond a Reasonable Scout (2000) 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

 
Surprising Twist in a Great Film-Noir
20 November 2007 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

The owner of an important newspaper Austin Spencer (Sidney Blackmer) opposes to the capital punishment and particularly to the prosecutor Roy Thompson (Philip Bourneuf), who has just succeeded in a trial based on circumstantial evidences. When a dancer is strangled and the police have no suspect, Austin convinces his future son-in-law, the prominent writer Tom Garrett (Dana Andrews), to plant circumstantial evidences to self-incriminate, while he would hold pictures, receipts and other evidences of his innocence until the very last moment. Later Austin would begin a campaign in his newspaper disclosing the possibility of sending an innocent to the electric chair. They decide to hide the truth from Austin's daughter Susan (Joan Fontaine) since she could not support the situation under stress. When the jury withdraws from the court in the end of the trial to give the sentence, Austin takes the evidences that prove the innocence of Tom from his safe, but has a car accident and dies. Tom is sentenced to death penalty and tries to convince Susan of his innocence as his last hope.

"Beyond a Reasonable Doubt" is a great film-noir with a surprising twist in the very end. The plot seems to be naive – who would accept to be accused of murder just to prove a point against the death penalty? – but after the very last twist, the concept changes from naive to Machiavellian. I have glanced unfair reviews in IMDb that I do not agree, since I liked this movie a lot. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Suplício de uma Alma" ("Torment of a Soul")


17 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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