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The Tattered Dress (1957)

6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 175 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 4 critic

When top lawyer James Blane gets an acquittal for a man who killed another man for sexually roughing up his trophy wife, the murderous town sheriff frames him for bribing a juror in the case.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Diane Blane
...
Sheriff Nick Hoak
Gail Russell ...
Carol Morrow
...
Charleen Reston
...
Billy Giles
...
Lester Rawlings
Phillip Reed ...
Michael Reston
...
Ralph Adams, Reporter (as Edward C. Platt)
Paul Birch ...
Prosecutor Frank Mitchell
Alexander Lockwood ...
Paul Vernon
Edwin Jerome ...
Judge David L. Johnson
...
Court Clerk
June McCall ...
Girl at Slot Machine
Frank J. Scannell ...
Cal Morrison, Blackjack Dealer (as Frank Scannell)
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Storyline

After a wild night, wealthy Michael Reston's adulterous wife Charleen comes home with her ripe young body barely concealed by a dress in rags; murder results. Top defense lawyer J.G. Blane, whose own marriage exists in name only, arrives in Desert View, Nevada to find the townsfolk and politically powerful Sheriff Hoak distinctly hostile to the Restons. In due course, Blane discovers he's been "taken for a ride," and that quiet desert communities can be deadly... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

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Details

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Release Date:

14 March 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Kreuzverhör  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Dick Wilson's film debut. See more »

Quotes

Michael Reston: When I spill a drink on the carpet, my butler cleans up after me.
James Gordon Blane: When you spill blood, your lawyer is expected to do the same.
Michael Reston: Exactly.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Pretentious courtroom drama can't live up to steamy opening
28 January 2002 | by (Western New York) – See all my reviews

By far the best few minutes in The Tattered Dress occur in its swift, provocative prologue. In filthy-rich Desert Valley, California, there's an illicit tryst (where a bodice actually gets ripped); a fight between the adulterous blonde and her jealous husband; and the stalking and slaying of the popular young man who cuckolded him. When a hotshot mouthpiece from New York rolls into town to defend the killer, on the grounds that he was only avenging his wife's rape, it promises to be down-and-dirty fun, like Anatomy of Murder a couple years later.

No such luck. The trial is but a plot point, winning lawyer Jeff Chandler not only an acquittal for his client but the everlasting enmity of the town sheriff and political boss (Jack Carson). Chandler finds himself framed for bribing a juror and ill-advisedly chooses to defend himself. To his side rushes Jeanne Crain, playing that most thankless of roles, the loyal ex-wife. Though there's some welcome noirish violence, the movie has aspirations to being a big courtroom drama where Chandler fights for his reputation, his self-respect, and "principle."

Turning Chandler into the central character proves a colossal miscalculation. He can't begin to impersonate a legal legend who's been compared to Clarence Darrow; though he sweats and strains to work up a full head of steam in his flat, wide skull, he convinces only the jurors -- never us viewers.

Elaine Stewart, as the trampy trophy-wife, and Gail Russell, as the bribed juror, get tossed aside, as does Crain. Only Carson emerges unscathed; once again, as in a long line of supporting roles, he uses his affable, average-joe persona to hide the ruthless schemer inside. When Chandler turns the ripped dress of the original trial into a metaphor for the "tattered" garb of the blind statue of Justice, it's clear that this movie is giving itself airs because it has nothing else to give.


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