A hard-line judge is tempted toward mercy-killing by his wife's terminal cancer.A hard-line judge is tempted toward mercy-killing by his wife's terminal cancer.A hard-line judge is tempted toward mercy-killing by his wife's terminal cancer.
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. —Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Not for hypochondriacs!
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 , 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.
- Sep 8, 1999
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