Trial and Error (1962)
"The Dock Brief" (original title)

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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 312 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 4 critic

An incompetent barrister is assigned to defend a wife murderer.



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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Wilfred Morgenhall, Solicitor
Herbert Fowle the Accused Murderer
Doris Fowle, his late wife
David Lodge ...
Frank Bateson the Lodger
Frank Pettingell ...
Tuppy Morgan, Solicitor
Audrey Nicholson ...
Morgenhall's Girl (In Flashback)
Tristram Jellinek ...
Mr. Perkins the Prosecutor
Eric Woodburn ...
Judge Banter
John Waite ...
Clerk of the Court
Patrick Newell ...
1st Warder
Henry Kay ...
2nd Warder
Photographer at Fowle Wedding
Eric Dodson ...


An incompetent barrister is assigned to defend a wife murderer.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


This is NOT the Birdman of Alcatraz!..It's only Peter Sellers with his sly, sneaky style of humor that creeps up on you and the leaves you wanting more.


Comedy | Drama


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Release Date:

5 August 1963 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Trial and Error  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

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Did You Know?


While Morgenhall is waiting for his "first case," a series of crossword puzzles are shown, as "time passes." Unfortunately, the puzzles are not in numerical order --- their numbers go up and down, never continually increasing, as they should as the months and years go "passing by." See more »


Version of Dock Brief (1960) See more »

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User Reviews

More of a curio, than anything else
10 July 2004 | by (Seattle, Washington) – See all my reviews

With respect, I must disagree with the other reviewers. I generally relish the old British films, especially the comedies (The Ladykillers, Kind Hearts and Coronets, The Green Man et al.) however I found this film to be well acted, but not particularly funny, and rather tedious. Attenborough and Sellers do show their considerable versatility and skills. But Mortimer's story makes one long for a good "Rumpole" episode. I kept waiting for the story to get going, but it never did. The pacing is s-l-o-w, which isn't inherently bad (see my review of The Smallest Show on Earth) but what does the film add up to? For me, it is an interesting curio perhaps, but not something one can really recommend.

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