Frederick Manion (Ben Gazzara), a lieutenant in the army, is arrested for the murder of a bartender, Barney Quill. He claims, in his defense, that the victim had raped and beaten up his wife Laura (Lee Remick). Although Laura supports her husband's story, the police surgeon can find no evidence that she has been raped. Manion is defended by Paul Biegler (James Stewart), a rather humble small-town lawyer. During the course of interviews, Biegler discovers that Manion is violently possessive and jealous, and also that his wife has a reputation for giving her favors to other men. Biegler realizes that the prosecution will try to make the court believe that Laura was the lover of the bartender and than Manion killed him and beat her up when he discovered them together. Manion pleads "not guilty" and Biegler, who knows that his case is weak, sets his assistants to try to find a witness who will save Manion. Written by
When Biegler returns to his house at the start of the film, McCarthy points to the United States Supreme Court reports and asks if they should read "a little Chief Justice Holmes", and Biegler also refers to "Chief Justice Holmes". Oliver Wendell Holmes was an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, never Chief Justice. (He was, however, Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachussetts before being appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.) See more »
Parnell Emmett McCarthy:
You know I used to think the world looked better through a glass of whiskey. It doesn't. I think I'll keep it this way. Looks nice.
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An excellent ballet of film direction and courtroom procedure, Anatomy is one of the best courtroom movies ever produced. With a great cast and three dimensional characters, highlighted by Jimmy Stewart and his usual "likeable everyman" character, the film moves briskly and intelligently, thanks to Premminger's fine direction.
Ben Gazzara plays an army soldier who shoots a man who raped his wife, then pleads insanity. Stewart is his lawyer and Lee Remick is great as the suggestive, somewhat slutty wife who leaves you questioning her motives throughout. Whether or not you agree with the final verdict (personally, I don't), you will agree that this is a great film, worth repeated viewings.
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