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A Fever in the Blood (1961)

The murder of a socialite leads to a sensational trial, with a close governor's race hanging on its outcome.


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Cast overview:
Rhodes Reason ...
Sandra Edwards ...
Lucy Callahan (as Saundra Edwards)
June Blair ...


A district attorney, a US Senator, and a Superior Court judge are all possible candidates for governor. All three meet in official or unofficial ways when a socialite is found murdered and her estranged husband, nephew of a former governor, stands accused. Written by Terry A. Hurlbut

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

trial | murder | See All (2) »


Searing Raw on the Screen from the Glowing Hot Pages of the Best Seller!




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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

28 January 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A verdade acima de tudo  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


Although shot in academy 1.37:1 aspect ratio (for later television airing) the theatrical -- or *intended* (by the studio, producer, director and/or cinematographer) -- aspect ratio of this film is 1.66:1 (widescreen). Most modern 16x9 (1.78:1) monitors have a "zoom to width" picture option, essentially allowing the viewer to see the film as the director and cinematographer originally planned. It is easy to spot films shot this way since all the titles and credits will still fit when properly cropped (they stay in the "middle" of the frame vertically), and there is an unusual amount of "headroom" above the actors in medium and close-up shots when viewed uncropped. Quite often "mistakes" -- like seeing equipment in the top or bottom of the uncropped frame -- would never have been seen by a theater audience. See more »


When Matt takes a phone call in Leland's apartment, the phone on the table is turned about 90 degrees between shots - and so is Cathy's picture. See more »


Attorney Clem Marker: You were formerly Governor of this State?
Governor Oliver P. Thornwall: Yes.
Attorney Clem Marker: What is your relation to the defendant?
Governor Oliver P. Thornwall: Walter Thornwall is my nephew.
Attorney Clem Marker: When was the last time you saw his wife?
Governor Oliver P. Thornwall: I saw Paula on the eighth of February.
Attorney Clem Marker: Two days before she met her death.
Governor Oliver P. Thornwall: Since that was the last time I saw her alive, I can hardly forget the time or the occasion.
Attorney Clem Marker: And what was the occasion, Governor?
Governor Oliver P. Thornwall: Dinner in my home.
See more »

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User Reviews

Bold, exciting, twists and turns - sometimes over the top
20 August 2016 | by (New York, New York) – See all my reviews

I watched this recently on TCM. I had always liked the actors - Jack Kelly (perhaps most famous for Maverick where he and James Garner shared the honors), Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Angie Dickinson, Don Ameche (and a host of character actors from Jesse White to Carroll O'Connor).

This is a movie about politics in a state in mid-20th century America. The ambitions of three men to become Governor: the current U.S. Senator, a prominent state court judge in the largest city in the state, and the famous District Attorney from that state. Their party lost the last election for Governor - they have reason to believe their party will succeed this time around. Each wants the job - very much.

Kelly plays (wonderfully) a man with a poor slum background - he's risen to be the D.A., he is aggressive, articulate, driven. His life has risen to this point - he wants the Governorship desperately - a loving wife, two happy children in his 1950s suburban home - he feels he's got to move up.

Zimbalist is the product of a wealthy background - he rose naturally to be a judge - his wife was an invalid a long time - then died. He has no children - no particular interest except fishing alone. He is lonely, and says repeatedly that he seeks the Governorship out of interest, to give his life more meaning. He lives year-round in the posh residential suite at the nicest hotel in the biggest city of the state.

Ameche is the current U.S. Senator - in middle age, he won the love of a beautiful blonde woman (Dickinson) who had been in love with Zimbalist (who was married to his invalid wife). Ameche is insecure, childless, deeply cynical, fast thinking, and far older than his wife. He suffered a heart attack the previous year - and wants desperately to win the adoring love of his wife - feeling that if he defeats her former love (Zimbalist), he'll have proved something.

Three smart men - all in the same party - and one job they seek. The screenwriters do a wonderful job of focusing this ambition upon a murder trial - over which Zimbalist presides - and Kelly is the prosecutor. And the defendant in that murder trial is ... the nephew of the former Governor of their party.

Possible - and actual - deals of alliance - offers, rejections, reneging on those deals - create the twists and turns of this political drama.

The movie is deeply cynical - sometimes I felt too much so. (I was sometimes out of sync with the movie - and felt that the characters' actions were not so unjust - or unfair - than the movie wants us to think).

It's a film about character, about ambition, about modern politics - in the last 1/4 of the movie, it goes off the rails repeatedly - with crazy turns and twists that seem implausible and wild - and yet the movie is BIG, the twists and turns remarkable - its ambition to show America the world of modern politics very admirable - even if sometimes too moralistic.

I loved watching it - it's exciting, fresh, the performances are just great (not only by Zimbalist, Kelly, Ameche and Dickinson - but by all the actors).

I suspect if you get the chance, you'll really like it - and remember it.

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