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Trial and Error (1962)

The Dock Brief (original title)
An incompetent barrister is assigned to defend a wife murderer.

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Writers:

(play), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Doris Fowle, Herbert Fowle's late wife
David Lodge ...
Frank Bateson, the Lodger
Frank Pettingell ...
Tuppy Morgan, Solicitor
Tristram Jellinek ...
Mr. Perkins, the Prosecutor
Audrey Nicholson ...
Morgenhall's Girl (in flashback)
Eric Woodburn ...
Judge Tommy Banter
John Waite ...
Clerk of the Court
Patrick Newell ...
First Warder
Henry Kay ...
Second Warder
...
Photographer at Fowle Wedding
Eric Dodson ...
Examiner
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Storyline

An incompetent barrister is assigned to defend a wife murderer.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

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Details

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Language:

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Release Date:

5 August 1963 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Trial and Error  »

Company Credits

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Did You Know?

Goofs

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 »

Connections

Version of Das Pflichtmandat (1958) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Peter Sellers and Richard Attenborough stuck together in the most hopelessly lost of all cases
27 March 2017 | by (Sweden) – See all my reviews

I didn't know this Peter Sellers film existed. It's a very odd story of a very poor man with no bad intentions at all, rather the contrary, having almost unawares being driven to commit a most heinous felony for no good reason at all, rather the contrary, as the result of a probably accidental marriage to the queerest kind of wife anyone ever could dream of marrying. The poor criminal, whose actual only desire in life is to be together in peace with his canaries, is played by Richard Attenborough in his most peculiar character ever, and by chance he gets for a defense council Peter Sellers of all people. As a barrister he takes himself extremely seriously, quoting Latin and being absolutely serious about his learned accomplishment and professional wisdom, which only makes matters worse. Of course, the trial becomes a satire of a painful joke, and the case, which was utterly hopeless from the beginning, ends up a mess that no one can handle. In all this, Richard Attenborough and Peter Sellers are absolutely consistent in their seriously honest characters in perfect idyllic-pathetic pettiness, and that's what's makes this film a crown jewel - as a comedy it is supreme. Beryl Reid as the wife and David Lodge (that's actually his name) as the lodger add to the total authenticity of the bizarre absurdity of a situation which you as an audience and everyone else must admit that cannot but end in one way, however incredible. This is a gem of a comedy unlike all others and the more precious for its endearingly sympathetic originality.


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