Small town lawyer, Harmon Cobb, defends a Nazi prisoner of war against murder charges. Set during World War II, Cobb has to contend with the difficulties of defending the devil when the ...
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Small town lawyer, Harmon Cobb, defends a Nazi prisoner of war against murder charges. Set during World War II, Cobb has to contend with the difficulties of defending the devil when the town's only doctor (Barnard Hughes) dies while at "Camp Bremen" in the fictitious town of Bremen, Colorado. Written by
As always, I was impressed by Walter Matthau's performance in this movie. Matthau played Harmon Cobb, a small town lawyer during the Second World War who is assigned to defend a German prisoner of war (Peter Firth) accused of murdering the local town doctor (Barnard Hughes.) The case seems open and shut, and Cobb's basic role - as he is clearly told by the presiding judge (Harry Morgan) - isn't to mount a serious defense; it's merely to make the process look good. (In fact, the judge makes it clear that he assigned Cobb because he believed Cobb to be incompetent.)
Cobb has to deal with the antipathy of the townsfolk, who are convinced of Geiger's guilt, as well as his own anti-German feelings (as a World War I vet, and especially after he receives news that his son was killed in Europe.) But he ultimately settles into the role he's been given, and gradually uncovers an unsavoury cover-up taking place at the POW camp with the full knowledge of its commander (Joe Horvath.)
This is a surprisingly good story that does keep the viewer guessing most of the way through. Ultimately, I found it to be a little too far fetched to really be believable (which knocked it down a couple of notches in my estimation) but it was still a pretty good who-dun-it sort of mystery.
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