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Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 6 February 1958 (USA)
Trailer
3:09 | Trailer
A veteran British barrister must defend his client in a murder trial that has surprise after surprise.

Director:

Billy Wilder

Writers:

Agatha Christie (in Agatha Christie's international stage success), Billy Wilder (screen play) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Popularity
3,772 ( 462)
Top Rated Movies #66 | Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Tyrone Power ... Leonard Vole
Marlene Dietrich ... Christine
Charles Laughton ... Sir Wilfrid Roberts
Elsa Lanchester ... Miss Plimsoll
John Williams ... Brogan-Moore
Henry Daniell ... Mayhew
Ian Wolfe ... Carter
Torin Thatcher ... Mr. Myers
Norma Varden ... Mrs. Emily Jane French
Una O'Connor ... Janet MacKenzie
Francis Compton ... Judge
Philip Tonge ... Inspector Hearne
Ruta Lee ... Diana
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Storyline

Ailing barrister Sir Wilfrid Robarts is thrust back into the courtroom in what becomes one of the most unusual and eventful murder case of the lawyer's career when he finds himself defending Leonard Vole, a man being tried for the murder of a wealthy woman. With Robarts choosing to represent him, the two find themselves up against Leonard's cold-hearted wife, Christine - who, in a surprising turn of events, chooses to appear in court against her husband. Written by Kyle Perez

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Unmatched ...in a half century of motion picture suspense! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Elsa Lanchester and Una O'Connor had previously appeared together in the classic monster movie Bride of Frankenstein (1935). See more »

Goofs

When the photographer takes the pictures of Leonard Vole in the prison, he takes one from the front view and one from Voles right side. Later in the courtroom the prosecutor Mr. Myers shows these pictures to Leonard Vole in the witness stand. Now there is one from the front sight and one from his left side. It is hard to believe, that a professional photographer in a murder case would make such a serious mistake to twist the negative mirror inverted. It more looks like a mistake of the prop master. See more »

Quotes

Sir Wilfrid: Doctors! They've deprived me of everything: alcohol, tobacco, female companionship!
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Crazy Credits

As the end credits appear on screen, an announcer's voice is heard: "The management of this theater suggests that for the greater entertainment of your friends who have not yet seen the picture you will not divulge to anyone the secret of the ending of Witness for the Prosecution." See more »

Connections

Remade as Witness for the Prosecution See more »

Soundtracks

I May Never Go Home Anymore
Music by Ralph Arthur Roberts
Lyrics by Jack Brooks
Sung by Marlene Dietrich (uncredited)
Reprised a cappella by Tyrone Power (uncredited)
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User Reviews

 
The Mother of all Courtroom dramas/thrillers.
27 October 2017 | by CoventrySee all my reviews

Yours truly has never been much of a reader, though with one notable exception: the work of Agatha Christie. I absolutely, positively worship this brilliant woman and try to read as many of her novels, short stories and stage play adaptations as possible. "Witness for the Prosecution" is a genuine classic, and although somewhat atypical for Christie, it is undeniably one of the greatest stories ever penned down. There's one major disadvantage about having read all of Christie's whodunits, of course, namely that you can't experience the same astounding twist-in-the-end twice! I would really have loved to be overwhelmed by the climax of this film- version, especially because Marlene Dietrich and Tyrone Power give away such fabulous performances. The story, with its fascinating characters and dazzling plot twists, does remain the movie's biggest strongpoint, but there are a number of more reasons why "Witness for the Prosecution" is righteously considered as one of the most massive milestones in cinematic history. Billy Wilder's surefooted direction, for one, and the stellar performances of the entire ensemble cast. I mentioned Dietrich and Power already, but there's also the downright phenomenal Charles Laughton (arguably the most shamefully neglected actor/director in history) and an appealing supportive role for Elsa Lancaster. But do I daresay that the ultimate success-factor of this stage play adaptation is the masterful re-creation of the court trial? The bombastic settings and decors, the echoing acoustics, the powerful monologues of confident (and arrogant) barristers and the intimidating gowns and wigs are largely what make "Witness for the Prosecution" not only the first but also the mother of all courtroom dramas. This may just be the opinion of an avid fan, but practically ALL great courtroom-dramas that were released from the sixties until present day ("To Kill a Mockingbird", "Philadelphia", "Devil's Advocate", "A Few Good Men"…) were clearly influenced by "Witness for the Prosecution". In fact, I only have one minor complaint: *** Spoiler **** the film version adds one more final twist that I didn't find 100% plausible.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

6 February 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Witness for the Prosecution See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$7,693
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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