6.7/10
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The Tattered Dress (1957)

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:
...
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Diane Blane
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Sheriff Nick Hoak
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Carol Morrow
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Charleen Reston
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Billy Giles
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Lester Rawlings
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Michael Reston
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Ralph Adams - Reporter (as Edward C. Platt)
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Prosecutor Frank Mitchell
Alexander Lockwood ...
Paul Vernon
Edwin Jerome ...
Judge David L. Johnson
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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>

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The story of The Tattered Dress ... that exposed a town's hidden evil !

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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:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Dick Wilson. 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.
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User Reviews

 
Lurid Subject Matter Tamely Handled
28 October 2016 | by (Crystal Palace) – See all my reviews

'The Tattered Dress' is the second of four programmers released by Universal in 1957 directed by Jack Arnold, who had started the year extremely auspiciously with 'The Incredible Shrinking Man'. 'The Tattered Dress' was the first of two films he made set in the deep south: the latter being 'Man in the Shadow', in which Jeff Chandler played the honest sheriff of a fictitious cow town called Spurline who crosses swords with a ruthless local ranch owner played by Orson Welles. In 'The Tattered Dress' it's the sheriff (played by Jack Carson) who's the heavy; and Chandler the lawyer from New York come to defend a wealthy local spiv for the murder of a popular local sports hero to whom his trashy wife had lately taken a shine.  After a glorious opening sequence resembling a series of dime novel covers of the period, Chandler arrives in Desert View, Nevada; and the moment he steps off the train the unfriendly looks he gets tell us we're in Mississippi Burning territory. Like most Hollywood films since time immemorial it takes a remarkably cynical view of lawyers and the law ("I could spend hours telling you of innocent men imprisoned and executed because of clumsy and uninspired defences"), but treats its often lurid subject matter in a rather lacklustre and talky fashion. Jeffrey Chandler isn't the most convincing of casting as a cynical and ruthless lawyer whose motto is "If you're guilty get James Gordon Blane" (it would have been perfect for Carson, actually); and most of the excellent supporting cast aren't really at their best, with the notable exception of Edward Andrews in a very small part and Gail Russell (whose vulnerable appearance is enhanced by the regrettable fact that she was in reality drinking herself to death at the time) as a pawn in a dastardly plot by crooked sheriff Jack Carson to cook Chandler's goose.

Two nice uses by Arnold of the Cinemascope screen were the way Chandler's until now estranged wife Jeanne Crain signals that their conjugal relations are about to resume by pulling shut the curtains in his hotel suite; and the slight but perceptible little sigh of relief visible on the part of the court stenographer (played by Robert Haines) when Chandler's passionate summary to the jury finally ends.


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