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The People vs. Jean Harris (1981)

A re-enactment of the trial of the mistress of the Scarsdale Diet doctor for his March 1980 murder, with excerpts from the transcript of the proceedings serving as the script.

Director:

George Schaefer

Writer:

George Lefferts
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Ellen Burstyn ... Jean Harris
Martin Balsam ... Joel Aurnou
Richard Dysart ... Judge Russell R. Leggett
Peter Coyote ... George Bolen
Priscilla Morrill ... Juanita Edwards
Al Ruscio ... Siciliano
Milton Selzer ... Dr. Roth
Alan Manson Alan Manson ... Dr. Ryan
Sarah Marshall Sarah Marshall ... Suzanne van der Vreken
Alvin Ing ... Dr. Roh
Lesley Woods
Sari Price Sari Price
Christopher Curry
Millie Slavin Millie Slavin ... Narrator
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Storyline

A re-enactment of the trial of the mistress of the Scarsdale Diet doctor for his March 1980 murder, with excerpts from the transcript of the proceedings serving as the script.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 May 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Jean-Harris-Prozess See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

PKO Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This drama was based on transcripts from Jean Harris' criminal trial. It was notable in being broadcast less than 3 months after the end of the actual trial. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Escale à Nanarland: Le Justicier de New York (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

 
How it's like to sit in a jury: Patience required
27 February 2006 | by manuel-pestalozziSee all my reviews

In his opening speech the prosecutor tells the jury that he will not be able to put up a projector and show them what happened on a screen. This interesting movie remains true to that announcement and documents in a chronological order what went on in the courtroom in the trial against Jean Harris, accused of having murdered her long time lover, a well known doctor. The viewers have more or less the viewpoint of a member of the jury.

What is being said seems to come straight out of a protocol. The atmosphere in the courtroom is one of tolerance and also patience. Witnesses, not least the prime witness, the accused herself, often start to meander in their statements and it usually takes quite a while for the judge to interrupt them in a civil tone. The patient viewer is rewarded with an insight into the psyche of a strong willed, intelligent career woman to whom fate dealt cruel blows and who could just not take it anymore.

The acting is very good, Ellen Burstyn is absolutely convincing as Jean Harris and Martin Balsam gives a beautifully laid back performance as her lawyer. The judge, played by Richard A. Dysart, is one of the most uplifting movie judges I have ever seen. He shows great respect for all the people concerned and really is the conductor of the court proceedings which he has, tolerance non-withstanding, in a firm grip.


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