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An Act of Murder (1948)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 18 December 1948 (Sweden)
A hard-line judge is tempted toward mercy-killing by his wife's terminal cancer.

Director:

Michael Gordon

Writers:

Ernst Lothar (novel), Michael Blankfort (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Fredric March ... Judge Calvin Cooke
Edmond O'Brien ... David Douglas
Florence Eldridge ... Catherine Cooke
Geraldine Brooks ... Ellie Cooke
Stanley Ridges ... Doctor Walter Morrison
John McIntire ... Judge Ogden
Frederic Tozere Frederic Tozere ... Charles Dayton
Will Wright ... Judge Jim Wilder
Virginia Brissac ... Mrs. Russell
Francis McDonald ... Mr. Russell
Mary Servoss ... Julia
Don Beddoe ... Pearson
Clarence Muse ... Mr. Pope
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Storyline

Judge Cooke, good husband and father, is known in court as Old Man Maximum. Cooke's daughter loves defender Dave Douglas, who hates Cooke's attitude toward defendants. Cooke's life shatters when he learns his wife has terminal brain cancer; as her pain worsens, he begins to consider mercy-killing, but that would place him in the position of a defendant. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

MERCY or MURDER? Can you condemn this man?

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 December 1948 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

The Judge's Wife See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Florence Eldridge, who portrays Fredric March's wife, also portrayed his wife twelve years later in 'Inherit the Wind'. The two actors were married in real life. See more »

Goofs

Neither the city nor county where the courthouse is said to be located and the majority of the movie take place, are actual places in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. See more »

Quotes

Doctor Walter Morrison: What is incurable today is curable next Wednesday.
See more »

Connections

Version of Murder or Mercy (1974) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not for hypochondriacs!
8 September 1999 | by Hup234!See all my reviews

This film's relentless plotline marches straight-ahead forward as you squirm, fascinated, in your chair. The story is the familiar one about the onset of terminal illness within a solid American family of the 1940s. Never mind that it delves into MGM-style sermonizing; the great real-life husband/wife team of Fredric March and Florence Eldridge portray the couple whose once-comfortable lives are now being separated by an unstoppable and fast-advancing disease. The helpless husband, the uncomplaining wife, and their final attempt to recapture happier days with a doomed weekend outing is the stuff of deep film drama indeed. The sense of onrushing darkness is tangible through the film-noir camera shadings of Hal Mohr (Captain Blood, Phantom of the Opera [1943], The Climax), and Daniele Amfitheatrof's rich musical score. "An Act of Murder" makes a profound statement on the value, and the fragility, of life.


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