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The Trial (1962)

Le procès (original title)
An unassuming office worker is arrested and stands trial, but he is never made aware of his charges.

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(adaptation), (based on the novel by) | 1 more credit »
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Inspector A
Jess Hahn ...
Second Assistant Inspector
Billy Kearns ...
First Assistant Inspector (as William Kearns)
...
Mrs. Grubach
...
Maurice Teynac ...
Deputy Manager
Naydra Shore ...
Irmie
...
Miss Pittl
Raoul Delfosse ...
Policeman
Jean-Claude Rémoleux ...
Policeman
Max Buchsbaum ...
Carl Studer ...
Man in Leather (as Karl Studer)
Max Haufler ...
Uncle Max
...
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Storyline

Josef K wakes up in the morning and finds the police in his room. They tell him that he is on trial but nobody tells him what he is accused of. In order to find out about the reason of this accusation and to protest his innocence, he tries to look behind the facade of the judicial system. But since this remains fruitless, there seems to be no chance for him to escape from this Kafkaesque nightmare. Written by Joern Richts <richts@informatik.rwth-aachen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Details

Country:

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Language:

Release Date:

7 September 1963 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

The Trial  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

(Optiphone) (source format)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Katina Paxinou was cast in a small role in the film, as a computer analyst. Her part took up only one scene and was cut out, but Orson Welles claimed that he had left her name in the advertising for the film so that her admirers might be persuaded to visit the film a second time to see if they had somehow missed her the first time round. (Her scene is included in the published version of his script). See more »

Goofs

When Josef K. follows Hilda being carried out of the large trial room/hall by the law student, he hastily grabs and throws on his suit jacket. In the succeeding scenes, the jacket's buttons which are buttoned changes. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: Before the law, there stands a guard. A man comes from the country, begging admittance to the law. But the guard cannot admit him. May he hope to enter at a later time? That is possible, said the guard. The man tries to peer through the entrance. He'd been taught that the law was to be accessible to every man. "Do not attempt to enter without my permission", says the guard. I am very powerful. Yet I am the least of all the guards. From hall to hall, door after door, each guard is ...
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Crazy Credits

The end cast credits are read over by Orson Welles without titles See more »

Connections

Referenced in Paul Calf's Video Diary (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Adagio in G
(uncredited)
Music by Tomaso Albinoni
Arranged by Jean Ledrut
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Aptly Ambiguously Layered 7 1/2
4 August 2002 | by (Virginia Beach) – See all my reviews

Spoilers herein.

Welles is one of the three primary inventors of cinema. And when he says this film is his best -- and autobiographical to boot -- one should sit up and take notice.

It is a remarkable experience, this film. Here are some elements I found interesting that are not yet noted here.

The impressive interiors are in a then abandoned train station. Today, that building houses the world's greatest collection of impressionist and postmodern art. One can walk around that museum and locate many of the locations used. It is an unhappy building now: it has many objects as important as this film or the book it is based on -- and their intent is as iconoclastic as Welles and Kafka, but it is run as a heavyhanded, relatively totalitarian institution. One gets much the same feeling of trapped artists now walking around it as one gets from this film.

Here's a puzzle for you: what black and white film was made in Europe by a master filmmaker; released in 1963; is a surreal depiction of an artist's angst; uses the device of many lovers or potential lovers in an imaginary array of sexual partners; arranged according to stereotype; is autobiographical and considered by the filmmaker his best. Both this and 8 1/2. Too many similarities for this to be accidental, including some stylistic touches (the painter). Both are films about film-making.

Welles uses actors in a then unusual way. It had long been the practice to take actors of ordinary skill and fit them to characters that more or less match their personality. But that practice simply took advantage of what the actor could do and was as much a matter of the actor exploiting the system as anything else. Welles here exploits Perkins, an actor who hasn't a clue about what is going on and so never finds the character. Clearly Welles wanted the effect of utter disorientation and knew Perkins could not consciously produce it.

Others have since used this technique (the Coens come to mind), sometimes with celebrities who will be really ticked when they emerge from their fogs.

A final interesting element: the framing. Welles is a master of mixing and conflating narrative methods. 'Kane' surely holds the record. Here, he is constrained by the pre-existing text: it is important that there be few narrative threads: Perkins' confusion and denial; the 'state's version; and the whole thing may be a dream or paranoid vision. Welles for instance cannot imply that the whole thing is one of the painter's paintings for instance, something he would have included in a flash if he could. So he extends his narrative layers offscreen by explicitly referencing it as a play he is doing, as a book (a 'dirty' book), and most creatively as an illustrated parable. He frames the film with drawings that are halfway between book illustrations and theatrical set designs. And he narrates them in a manner halfway between a drama and a reading. Very, very clever use of framing to increase the narrative layers by reference beyond what you see.

Ted's Evaluation: 3 of 4 -- Worth watching.


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