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The Star Chamber (1983)

6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 4,243 users  
Reviews: 34 user | 19 critic

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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Title: The Star Chamber (1983)

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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
Edit

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:

A Câmara Secreta  »

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:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Peter Hyams created lighting innovations to create the eerie atmosphere of the movie, including a daylight lamp, and utilizing light beams for the exterior shots. See more »

Goofs

During the chase scene between the Pontiac Firebird and the cops in the parking garage, several times skid marks can be seen along the path the cars follow. These marks follow through very narrow gaps between parked cars and concrete posts, areas in which cars would not normally travel. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Referenced in Caroline in the City: Caroline and the Ultimatum (1999) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Intelligent debate film but has a clumsy conclusion
11 January 2002 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Judge Hardin has a problem. He is beginning to be disillusioned by the legal system he represents and is repeatedly forced to release people who are clearly guilty due to legal technicalities set-up to protect the innocent. When the torture and murder of children comes before his court he is forced to release the suspects leading him to join a select court of Judges who are self appointed to a shadowy group that pass judgment behind closed doors before employing a hitman to carry out the sentence. However it doesn't take long before developments show Hardin the limitations of this alternative version of justice.

The story here is in two parts. First we have the investigation side where Detective Lowes and others try to catch the child killers, but we also have the side with Hardin and the other Judges. The latter allows the film to debate the issues of justice and the legal system using the former as the catalyst for the debate. Both strands are fascinating when separate however when the two come together for the conclusion it doesn't quite work. The film is then forced to pick a side and manages to fudge it a bit and lose it's way. Up until then it's a great piece of work that makes intelligent argument both in attack and defence of the legal system. The film is still relevant today - in the UK we recently saw the alleged Lawrence killers walk free despite overwhelming evidence due to technicalities - in fact it is probably more relevant than it was then.

The cast are roundly good - Douglas is good despite his slight scout style character. Holbrook does one of the best performances I've seen him give and Kotto adds some real class. It also gives small roles to Gless and David Proval (Ritchie in The Sopranos). The only weak link are the bug-eyed performances of suspected murders Monk and Cooms who are almost like cartoon characters at times.

Overall an intelligent film that manages to hold a clever debate before blowing it with a ham-fisted conclusion.


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