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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

The picture's closing credits declare that the film was dedicated "For George-Ann". George-Ann is the first name of George-Ann Spota who is the wife of the movie's director Peter Hyams. The film references her last name with the naming of a character called Sergeant Spota (Robert Costanzo) something which is a trademark of director Hyams. 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

Judge Benjamin Caulfield: It's always been a game, only now the bad guys have a stronger team, got a better draft.
Superior Court Judge Steven R. Hardin: You know I took a lot of notes in your class and I can never remember you saying anything quite like that.
Judge Benjamin Caulfield: You should have taken fewer notes and listened more.
See more »

Connections

References Conan the Barbarian (1982) 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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