Frederick Manion (Ben Gazzara), a lieutenant in the army, is arrested for the murder of a bartender, Barney Quill. He claims, in his defense, that the victim had raped and beaten up his wife Laura (Lee Remick). Although Laura supports her husband's story, the police surgeon can find no evidence that she has been raped. Manion is defended by Paul Biegler (James Stewart), a humble small-town lawyer and recently deposed district attorney. During the course of interviews, Biegler discovers that Manion is violently possessive and jealous, and also that his wife has a reputation for flirting with other men. Biegler realizes that the prosecution will try to make the court believe that Laura had been drunk and was picked up by the bartender and then Her husband killed him and beat her up when he discovered they had been together. Manion pleads "not guilty" and Biegler, who knows that his case is weak, tries to find evidence that will save Manion.Written by
The interior of Barney Quill's bar is not a movie set. It's the interior of the Lumberjack Tavern in Big Bay, MI, and is the place where the actual murder on which the novel and film are based took place in 1952. This is believed to be first time a movie was filmed at the actual scene of the crime. See more »
When Biegler returns to his house at the start of the film, McCarthy points to the United States Supreme Court reports and asks if they should read "a little Chief Justice Holmes", and Biegler also refers to "Chief Justice Holmes". Oliver Wendell Holmes was an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, never Chief Justice. (He was, however, Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachussetts before being appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.) See more »
Anatomy of a Murder is a court room drama. I loved it, but I loved it more for the characters rather the story. While the plot is very good the characters are what hooked me in.
Characters of the main protagonist, his friend, his secretary and the judge had little quirks that made them come alive. Whether it was "Arty of Irst Art" or "That's a great help. Mr. Dancer?", there were some memorable quotes. All of this somehow made the characters seem very real as opposed to caricatures as these type of characters are in most films.
When you see a court room drama revolving around a murder defense, you rarely expect humor or quirkiness but that is what made this movie special for me. All the actors did a wonderful job particularly James Stewart.
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