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Anatomy of a Murder Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

Based on the best-selling novel by Robert Traver (the pseudonym for Michigan Supreme Court justice John D. Voelker), Anatomy of a Murder stars James Stewart as seat-of-the-pants Michigan lawyer Paul Biegler. Through the intervention of his alcoholic mentor, Parnell McCarthy (Arthur O'Connell), Biegler accepts the case of one Lt. Manion (Ben Gazzara), an unlovable lout who has murdered a local bar owner. Manion admits that he committed the crime, citing as his motive the victim's rape of the alluring Mrs. Manion (Lee Remick). Faced with the formidable opposition of big-city prosecutor Claude Dancer (George C. Scott), Biegler hopes to win freedom for his client by using as his defense the argument of "irresistible impulse." Also featured in the cast is Eve Arden as Biegler's sardonic secretary, Katherine Grant as the woman who inherits the dead man's business, and Joseph N. Welch -- who in real life was the defense attorney in the Army-McCarthy hearings -- as the ever-patient judge. The progressive-jazz musical score is provided by Duke Ellington, who also appears in a brief scene. Producer/director Otto Preminger once more pushed the envelope in Anatomy of a Murder by utilizing technical terminology referring to sexual penetration, which up until 1959 was a cinematic no-no. Contrary to popular belief, Preminger was not merely being faithful to the novel; most of the banter about "panties" and "semen," not to mention the 11-hour courtroom revelation, was invented for the film. Anatomy of a Murder was filmed on location in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:July 1, 1959

Awards

Awarded by
Nominee
Category
Year
Status
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Joseph Welch Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture 1959 Nominee
New York Film Critics Circle Wendell Mayes Best Screenplay 1959 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Wendell Mayes Best Adapted Screenplay 1959 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Arthur O'Connell Best Supporting Actor 1959 Nominee
Venice International Film Festival James Stewart Volpi Cup for Best Actor 1959 Winner
New York Film Critics Circle James Stewart Best Actor 1959 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences James Stewart Best Actor 1959 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Lee Remick Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama 1959 Nominee
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Otto Preminger Best British Film 1959 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Otto Preminger Best Director 1959 Nominee
Directors Guild of America Otto Preminger Best Director 1959 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Otto Preminger Best Picture 1959 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences George C. Scott Best Supporting Actor 1959 Nominee

Cast

James Stewart
as Paul Biegler
Lee Remick
as Laura Manion
Ben Gazzara
as Lt. Frederick Manion
Arthur O'Connell
as Pamell McCarthy
George C. Scott
as Claude Dancer
Eve Arden
as Maida
Joseph Welch
as Judge Weaver
Brooks West
as Mitch Lodwick
Murray Hamilton
as Alphonse Pacquette
Orson Bean
as Dr. Smith
Joseph Kearns
as Mr. Burke, Photographer
Russ Brown
as Mr. Lemon, Caretaker
Howard McNear
as Dr. Dompierre
Jimmy Conlin
as Madigan
Ken Lynch
as Durgo, Police Sergeant
Royal Beal
as Sheriff Battisfore
John Qualen
as Sulo
Duke Ellington
as Pie-eye

Crew

Otto Preminger
Director
Otto Preminger
Producer
Robert Traver
Book Author
Wendell Mayes
Screenwriter
Duke Ellington
Composer (Music Score)
Boris Leven
Production Designer
Howard Bristol
Set Designer
Jack Solomon
Sound/Sound Designer
Del Armstrong
Makeup
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