7.2/10
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Witness for the Prosecution (1982)

Leonard Vole is accused of murdering an elderly rich woman and the only alibi to him depends on his wife.

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(written for television by), | 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Michael Nightingale ...
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Dr. Harrison
Patricia Leslie ...
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Court Usher
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Storyline

Efficient, but bitter and stubborn, barrister Sir Wilfrid Robarts returns to his office in London, having recovered from a heart attack. He is subsequently invited to defend Leonard Stephen Vole, who is the prime suspect in a murder case. Leonard is a former soldier that fought in World War II and is married to his beloved German wife Christine Helm Vole. He is unemployed and accused of seducing and murdering the wealthy middle-aged single woman, Emily French, to inherit 80,000 pounds. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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A mysterious woman. A scandalous crime. A perfect secret. And a trail of fascinating clues - she holds the key.

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Drama

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Release Date:

4 December 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hallmark Hall of Fame: Witness for the Prosecution (#32.1)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Last film of Michael Nightingale. See more »

Connections

Version of Witness for the Prosecution (1949) See more »

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User Reviews

Decent But Stick with Wilder
4 December 2009 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Witness for the Prosecution (1982)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Hallmark Hall of Fame remake of the 1957 Billy Wilder masterpiece taken from the Agatha Christie play. This time out it's Ralph Richardson playing the lawyer trying to get a man (Beau Bridges) off of murder charges and the key bit of evidence might come from his mysterious wife (Diana Rigg). Wilder's original version takes a rather unbelievable story and turned it into a masterpiece because everyone from the director to the wonderful cast took the material, ran with it and make the subject a lot better than it actually was. This remake does a somewhat decent job at certain aspect but in the end it really can't stand against the original version or on its own. The biggest problem with the film is the performance by Bridges, which is downright terrible. He's so over the the top and obnoxious that I really wanted to see him hang and this isn't good when we're suppose to be cheering for him to be freed. I found his performance so irritating that it really hurt the film for me and I really didn't expect to feel this way as I've enjoyed several of his performances over the years. Why director Gibson let him turn in a performance like this is beyond me. Richardson turns in a decent performance, although I do feel he was a tad bit too laid back for the character. While he's good in the role he never really takes it and makes it jump off the screen. Rigg is pretty good, although she too goes over the top too much in certain scenes. Donald Pleasence turns in a good performance as the prosecuting attorney and Deborah Kerr is quite charming as Richardson's nurse. Michael Gough gets a few good scenes as the judge. This version is pretty much by the numbers and is slightly entertaining but it's a shame there wasn't more fire and energy like the original. If you've seen the original the you might want to check this one out for comparison sake but if you haven't seen that Wilder film then you'll want to stay away from this and check it out.


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