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The Star Chamber (1983)

Disgusted with criminals escaping the judicial system via technicalities, an idealistic young judge investigates an alternative method for punishing the guilty.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Superior Court Judge Steven R. Hardin
...
Judge Benjamin Caulfield
...
Det. Harry Lowes
...
Emily Hardin
...
Dr. Harold Lewin (as James B. Sikking)
...
Arthur Cooms
...
Lawrence Monk
John DiSanti ...
Det. James Wickman
...
Stanley Flowers (as DeWayne Jessie)
Jack Kehoe ...
Hingle
...
Det. Kenneth Wiggan
...
Det. Paul Mackey
Margie Impert ...
Louise Pacinni
Dana Gladstone ...
Dept. Dist. Atty. Martin Hyatt
...
Officer Nelson
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Storyline

Disgusted with criminals escaping the judicial system via technicalities, an idealistic young judge investigates an alternative method for punishing the guilty. Written by <bentley@access.digex.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They are the most powerful members of our community. They have a shattering secret. Only one man is willing to stop them. [Video Australia] See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 August 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ein Richter sieht rot  »

Box Office

Gross:

$5,600,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Portraying Superior Court Judge Steven R. Hardin, the film was the first of two legal characters that actor Michael Douglas portrayed during the 1980s. The second was as Manhattan attorney Dan Gallagher in Fatal Attraction (1987). See more »

Goofs

At the Atlanta Braves game Michael Douglas is sitting next to Hal Holbrook to Holbrook's left. In two wide angle shots of the seats Michael Douglas does not appear. Just Holbrook's wife and Douglas' wife. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Harold Lewin: Look at the goddamn photograph.
See more »

Connections

References Conan the Barbarian (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

New Church
Performed by The Lords of the New Church
Written by Brian James (uncredited) and Stiv Bators (uncredited)
courtesy of IRS Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Fairly impressive early effort from Douglas
1 February 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

STAR RATING:*****Unmissable****Very Good***Okay**You Could Go Out For A Meal Instead*Avoid At All Costs

In one of his earlier features,Michael Douglas plays a young judge who becomes disillusioned with the law system he used to so admire when he finds himself continually having to aquit particularly dispicable criminals on the grounds of ridiculous technicalities.Sensing his frustration,a close friend (Hal Holbrook) informs him of a secret judicial society that meets and dishes out the appropriate punishment to those who have escaped the clutches of the law.However,events take a turn for the worst as the wheels get set too far in motion and he finds himself having to turn against this group and bring them down.With the aid of an inquisitive detective (Yaphet Kotto) this proves easier than anticipated.

The whole thing weirdly ends up emerging as some sort of left-wing statement against the death penalty and the complications that could arise with it,in much the same way as the Kevin Spacey/Kate Winslet thriller The Life of David Gale would 20 years later.In this sense,it makes it's point fairly well,although the plot does seem to borrow rather too heavily from Clint Eastwood's Magnum Force to have the full lasting impact it could have had and it has a kind of far-fetched,unintentionally surreal feel to it that ultimately clouded my judgement.The odd title is never really explained or delved in to with much detail either.

Still,for all these criticisms,it's riveting and consistently exciting enough to sustain your interest till the end,which,ironically for how unbelievable the plot is in some respects,is extremely believable and satisfactory.This star chamber is lucky enough to be granted two more from this generous benefactor.***


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