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The Trial (1962)

Le procès (original title)
An unassuming office worker is arrested and stands trial, but he is never made aware of his charges.

Director:

Orson Welles

Writers:

Pierre Cholot (adaptation), Franz Kafka (based on the novel by) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Anthony Perkins ... Josef K.
Arnoldo Foà ... Inspector A
Jess Hahn ... Second Assistant Inspector
Billy Kearns Billy Kearns ... First Assistant Inspector (as William Kearns)
Madeleine Robinson ... Mrs. Grubach
Jeanne Moreau ... Marika Burstner
Maurice Teynac Maurice Teynac ... Deputy Manager
Naydra Shore Naydra Shore ... Irmie
Suzanne Flon ... Miss Pittl
Raoul Delfosse Raoul Delfosse ... Policeman
Jean-Claude Rémoleux Jean-Claude Rémoleux ... Policeman
Max Buchsbaum Max Buchsbaum ... Examining Magistrate
Carl Studer Carl Studer ... Man in Leather (as Karl Studer)
Max Haufler Max Haufler ... Uncle Max
Romy Schneider ... Leni
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Storyline

Josef K wakes up in the morning and finds the police in his room. They tell him that he is on trial but nobody tells him what he is accused of. In order to find out about the reason of this accusation and to protest his innocence, he tries to look behind the facade of the judicial system. But since this remains fruitless, there seems to be no chance for him to escape from this Kafkaesque nightmare. Written by Joern Richts <richts@informatik.rwth-aachen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Film of Enormous Visual Panache! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | West Germany | Italy

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 December 1962 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Trial See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Optiphone) (source format)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When the film came out, Orson Welles called this his best movie. Later, he picked Chimes at Midnight (1965). See more »

Goofs

When Josef K. follows Hilda being carried out of the large trial room/hall by the law student, he hastily grabs and throws on his suit jacket. In the succeeding scenes, the jacket's buttons which are buttoned changes. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: Before the law, there stands a guard. A man comes from the country, begging admittance to the law. But the guard cannot admit him. May he hope to enter at a later time? That is possible, said the guard. The man tries to peer through the entrance. He'd been taught that the law was to be accessible to every man. "Do not attempt to enter without my permission", says the guard. I am very powerful. Yet I am the least of all the guards. From hall to hall, door after door, each guard is ...
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Crazy Credits

The end cast credits are read over by Orson Welles without titles See more »

Alternate Versions

The American version cut the opening pin screen sequence and also deleted and rearanged a number of scenes. See more »

Connections

Version of Waking (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Ouverture d'opérette
Interprété par André Girard (as A. Girard) et Orchestre de l'Association des Concerts Colonne
Composed By Jean Ledrut
Publisher: S.l. : Philips, 1962.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Orson Welles's Best Movie
1 March 2001 | by reader4See all my reviews

When asked on the IMDb poll to enter the name of my favorite movie, I at first thought it an impossible task. Once this one entered my mind, though, the contest was over.

The lifetime masterpiece of a master of filmmaking, "The Trial" is Orson Welles's finest film, even surpassing "Touch of Evil." Somber, brooding, sometimes even claustrophobic, "The Trial" is a surrealistic safari through the worlds of law, employment and interpersonal relationships.

The melancholy strains of the artistically deployed Adagio by Albinoni underscore the mood of the film, shot mostly at twilight or indoors by night in a tangle of nightmarish sets that extend to infinity. Even scenes shot in broad daylight seem cold and devoid of nourishment in this cosmos of interminable, infinitesimal complexity which utterly lacks a heart.

Anthony Perkins (Joseph K.) is mass of contradictions, at once sympathetic, boyish, paranoid, angry, declamatory and most of all surpassingly frustrated by the futility of attempting to deal with a society that both demands mechanistic perfection of him and at the same time exhibits a persistent apathy toward his continued existence as well as a bureaucratic attempt to destroy it.

He seems inadvertently to hurt everyone with whom he comes in contact, ostensibly the cause of people getting thrown out of their dwellings, schools, jobs, marriages and other situations, all due to his benign actions which in any sane world would be completely unconnected with the tragedies they somehow appear to create. But in the Kafka/Welles society, they just lead to blame and further accusations. In his helplessness, his innocence and his utter bafflement, Perkins is thoroughly disarming.

Welles is positively diabolical as The Advocate, who, like everyone else connected with the Court, is not of any assistance or support to the accused. Rather, he seems to exist only to hurl vague accusations at Joseph K. - which the poor man is somehow expected to understand beforehand and even think are justified - and to exact payment for same.

Romy Schneider is outstanding as The Advocate's cook/housekeeper/nursemaid/concubine, the only person in the story who shows Joseph K. any genuine affection, odd though the form it takes may be. Other unforgettable and universally strange characters populate this odyssey into oblivion, such as the club-footed landlady doggedly dragging a trunk along an empty railroad track into the fading twilight while politely trying to refrain from telling Joseph K. how lowly she regards him.

The movie is fairly divergent from the book, which it inspired me to read. For example, the movie comes to a conclusion, while the unfinished book does not. In most ways, though, I find the movie more memorable, haunting and downright disturbing. Its skillfully crafted mesh of images and symbols which resonate at a level deeper than the conscious will find themselves recurring to the viewer unbidden for years to come.


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