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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:

...Where justice is served with a vengeance. 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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Hal Holbrook leads a group of vigilante judges in this movie and similarly another legal drama-thriller, Holbrook would later lead a team of rebel lawyers in The Firm (1993). See more »

Goofs

Obvious stunt double when Judge Hardin is tumbling down the chute in Monk & Coombs' warehouse. See more »

Quotes

Det. James Wickman: Did you eat?
Det. Harry Lowes: Yes.
Det. James Wickman: When?
Det. Harry Lowes: Yesterday.
Det. James Wickman: If you don't eat, you could die. You could die here. I don't want you to die here. If you die here, I have to fill out all kinds of paperwork. And you know how I hate to do paperwork.
See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Boys in the Brigade
Perffomed by Youth Brigade
courtesy of Better Youth Records
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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