6.8/10
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11 user 9 critic

The Tattered Dress (1957)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 1957 (Argentina)
When top lawyer James Blane gets an acquittal for a man who killed another man for sexually roughing up his trophy wife, the murderous town sheriff frames him for bribing a juror in the case.

Director:

Jack Arnold
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeff Chandler ... James Gordon Blane
Jeanne Crain ... Diane Blane
Jack Carson ... Sheriff Nick Hoak
Gail Russell ... Carol Morrow
Elaine Stewart ... Charleen Reston
George Tobias ... Billy Giles
Edward Andrews ... Lester Rawlings
Phillip Reed ... Michael Reston
Edward Platt ... Ralph Adams - Reporter (as Edward C. Platt)
Paul Birch ... Prosecutor Frank Mitchell
Alexander Lockwood Alexander Lockwood ... Paul Vernon
Edwin Jerome Edwin Jerome ... Judge David L. Johnson
William Schallert ... Court Clerk
June McCall ... Girl at Slot Machine
Frank J. Scannell Frank J. Scannell ... Cal Morrison - Blackjack Dealer (as Frank Scannell)
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Storyline

After a wild night, wealthy Michael Reston's adulterous wife Charleen comes home with her ripe young body barely concealed by a dress in rags; murder results. Top defense lawyer J.G. Blane, whose own marriage exists in name only, arrives in Desert View, Nevada to find the townsfolk and politically powerful Sheriff Hoak distinctly hostile to the Restons. In due course, Blane discovers he's been "taken for a ride," and that quiet desert communities can be deadly... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The story of The Tattered Dress ... that exposed a town's hidden evil !

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1957 (Argentina) See more »

Also Known As:

El vestido roto See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first American troops killed in the Vietnam War were shot during a screening of this film in Bien Hoa on July 8, 1959. When a soldier turned on the lights to change reels, Vietcong guerrillas fired into the building, killing Major Dale Buis and Sergeant Chester Ovnand. See more »

Quotes

Michael Reston: When I spill a drink on the carpet, my butler cleans up after me.
James Gordon Blane: When you spill blood, your lawyer is expected to do the same.
Michael Reston: Exactly.
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User Reviews

 
Pretentious courtroom drama can't live up to steamy opening
28 January 2002 | by bmacvSee all my reviews

By far the best few minutes in The Tattered Dress occur in its swift, provocative prologue. In filthy-rich Desert Valley, California, there's an illicit tryst (where a bodice actually gets ripped); a fight between the adulterous blonde and her jealous husband; and the stalking and slaying of the popular young man who cuckolded him. When a hotshot mouthpiece from New York rolls into town to defend the killer, on the grounds that he was only avenging his wife's rape, it promises to be down-and-dirty fun, like Anatomy of Murder a couple years later.

No such luck. The trial is but a plot point, winning lawyer Jeff Chandler not only an acquittal for his client but the everlasting enmity of the town sheriff and political boss (Jack Carson). Chandler finds himself framed for bribing a juror and ill-advisedly chooses to defend himself. To his side rushes Jeanne Crain, playing that most thankless of roles, the loyal ex-wife. Though there's some welcome noirish violence, the movie has aspirations to being a big courtroom drama where Chandler fights for his reputation, his self-respect, and "principle."

Turning Chandler into the central character proves a colossal miscalculation. He can't begin to impersonate a legal legend who's been compared to Clarence Darrow; though he sweats and strains to work up a full head of steam in his flat, wide skull, he convinces only the jurors -- never us viewers.

Elaine Stewart, as the trampy trophy-wife, and Gail Russell, as the bribed juror, get tossed aside, as does Crain. Only Carson emerges unscathed; once again, as in a long line of supporting roles, he uses his affable, average-joe persona to hide the ruthless schemer inside. When Chandler turns the ripped dress of the original trial into a metaphor for the "tattered" garb of the blind statue of Justice, it's clear that this movie is giving itself airs because it has nothing else to give.


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