7.0/10
3,931
52 user 30 critic

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | November 1956 (UK)
A novelist aided by his future father-in-law conspires to frame himself in the murder of a stripper as part of an effort to ban capital punishment.

Director:

Fritz Lang

Writer:

Douglas Morrow (story and screenplay)
Reviews

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A serial killer has been killing beautiful women in New York, and the new owner of a media company offers a high ranking job to the 1st administrator who can get the earliest scoops on the case.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Dana Andrews, Rhonda Fleming, George Sanders
Human Desire (1954)
Drama | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A Korean War vet returns to his job as a railroad engineer and becomes involved in an affair with a co-worker's wife following a murder on a train where they meet.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Broderick Crawford
Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

After the Nazi administrator of Czechoslovakia is shot, his assassin tries to elude the Gestapo and struggles with his impulse to give himself up as hostages are executed.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Brian Donlevy, Walter Brennan, Anna Lee
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A telephone operator ends up drunk and at the mercy of a cad in his apartment. The next morning she wakes up with a hangover and the terrible fear she may be a murderess.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Anne Baxter, Richard Conte, Ann Sothern
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A deranged writer murders a maid after she resists his advances. The writer engages his brother's help in hiding the body, and then watches as the brother becomes the prime suspect.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Louis Hayward, Lee Bowman, Jane Wyatt
Drama | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Mae Doyle comes back to her hometown a cynical woman. Her brother Joe fears that his love, fish cannery worker Peggy, may wind up like Mae. Mae marries Jerry and has a baby; she is happy but restless, drawn to Jerry's friend Earl.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Ryan, Paul Douglas
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The public defender's secretary and an ex-convict get married and try to make a life together, but a series of disasters sends their lives spiraling out of control.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Sylvia Sidney, Henry Fonda, Barton MacLane
Fury (1936)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

When a wrongly accused prisoner barely survives a lynch mob attack and is presumed dead, he vindictively decides to fake his death and frame the mob for his supposed murder.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Sylvia Sidney, Spencer Tracy, Walter Abel
Drama | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

When a lovely woman and her new husband settle in an ancient mansion on the East coast, she discovers that he may want to kill her.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Joan Bennett, Michael Redgrave, Anne Revere
Adventure | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

In WW2, the Allies race against time to persuade two nuclear scientists working for the Germans to switch sides.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Gary Cooper, Robert Alda, Lilli Palmer
Man Hunt (1941)
Drama | Thriller | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

British hunter Thorndike vacationing in Bavaria has Hitler in his gun sight. He is captured, beaten, left for dead, and escapes back to London where he is hounded by German agents and aided by a young woman.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Walter Pidgeon, Joan Bennett, George Sanders
The Big Heat (1953)
Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Tough cop Dave Bannion takes on a politically powerful crime syndicate.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Jocelyn Brando
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dana Andrews ... Tom Garrett
Joan Fontaine ... Susan Spencer
Sidney Blackmer ... Austin Spencer
Arthur Franz ... Bob Hale
Philip Bourneuf Philip Bourneuf ... Dist. Atty. Roy Thompson
Edward Binns ... Lt. Kennedy
Shepperd Strudwick ... Jonathan Wilson
Robin Raymond ... Terry Larue
Barbara Nichols ... Dolly Moore
William F. Leicester William F. Leicester ... Charlie Miller (as William Lester)
Dan Seymour ... Greco
Rusty Lane ... Judge
Joyce Taylor ... Joan Williams
Carleton Young ... Allan Kirk
Trudy Wroe Trudy Wroe ... Hatcheck Girl
Edit

Storyline

Investigative reporter Tom Garrett is on leave from his newspaper job to work on his second novel. As Tom is having problems writing that second book, his boss and future father-in-law, newspaper publisher Austin Spencer, suggests he write a non-fiction book on capital punishment in their state instead. Both Austin and Tom have long believed that the state district attorney, Roy Thompson, has been able to manipulate juries into rendering wrongful guilty verdicts leading to the deaths of innocent people on death row. The plan would be to plant evidence leading to a guilty verdict of an innocent person in a murder case, Tom to be that innocent person. Austin and Tom would document all that planted evidence, and make it public after the rendering of the guilty verdict to reverse that wrongful verdict and hopefully lead to discussion of the merits of abolishing capital punishment. They decide that the fewer people that know about the plan, the better, which means not telling Tom's fiancée... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

What kind of man would frame himself for MURDER? See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

November 1956 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Jenseits allen Zweifels See more »

Filming Locations:

Chicago, Illinois, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The last film that Fritz Lang made in the USA before returning to Germany. See more »

Quotes

Tom Garrett: Well, could I get in touch with you?
Dolly Moore: You've touched enough already!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Recess: Beyond a Reasonable Scout (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Beyond A Reasonable Doubt
Sung by The Hi-Los (as The Hi-Lo's)
Music by Herschel Burke Gilbert
Lyrics by Alfred Perry
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

why BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT is Lang's best US film
3 January 2009 | by Howard_B_EaleSee all my reviews

Sometimes, in the world of 1940s-1950s film noir, we are given a film so transparently impossible and contrived that we can see ourselves giving up on watching it half way through. But is extremely rare that we are faced with a film where the very response the viewer is having holds the key to the success, rather than the failure, of the film.

Such is the case with BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT, which has - to its credit - been completely misunderstood by many. When we reach the film's conclusion, we realize that even the title of the film itself is a joke, perhaps the ultimate prank on the viewer. Yet to offer analysis of the film would be to destroy its main and most sinister motive; you can't "explain away" the glaring plot holes and contrivances without revealing the twist the film takes in its climax, and to do would rob the viewer of a genuine experience. So... I won't.

Suffice it to say, BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT is far more than it seems and is nothing without the sum of its parts, in total. Lang tackles the story of a person who creates a fictitious role for himself in order to, essentially, pull a fast one on the legal profession for personal gain (or, as it appears on the surface, someone else's). In the world of film noir, of course, we know that such a character won't get away with it, but when Lang depicts the tragedy the viewer knows will come, he majestically turns the entire premise on its head. As a result, it's a cold slap in the face - a devastating critique of the complicity of the audience in following along, hungrily, with such contrivances in cinema.

Every part of the film fits perfectly by not fitting at all. Even the visual style of the film is a cold, rarely pleasing one, almost daring you to suspend your disbelief just a little bit longer without even granting the pleasure of emotionally charged close-ups at key moments. The editing is brutal and jarring, cutting away practically mid-sentence and moving to a similar conversation elsewhere.

As a swan song to his Hollywood career, BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT does to the audience what Billy Wilder does to the industry in SUNSET BLVD. - biting the hand that feeds. The result is a total masterpiece.


13 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 52 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching

Stream Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed