I shouldn't have checked my mail before coming here.
Louie . . . this looks like the beginning of a beautiful discussion.
Coup de Torchon - I like this, and I think others will, too. But I can easily see you making it through to the finish with a gut-level sense of real dissatisfaction. Philippe Noiret is the sheriff of a tiny French colonial burg in Africa. He carries a gun, but everyone -- local businessmen, the town pimps, his boss, his girlfriend's husband, his own wife and her lover -- treats him like shit, like he isn't even there. Then comes the Great Awakening. He discovers how easy it is for a man in his position to kill with impunity, and he changes from being a doormat into -- what? I won't spoil the plot. I'm not sure I understand it anyway. But the cast is terrific -- Noiret, of course, and especially the women. We're lucky to catch Isabelle Huppert and Irene Skobline with bare tits, but the sight of Stephane Audran's is denied to us. A bitter shame. She's been a hot lick all her life, and I'd hoped to soil her with my sick fantasies. Ah, well! At any rate, you get the feeling this movie is about something. I won't pretend to know what. But it's a solid, steady watch if you're willing to swallow a bit of faux philosophic cynicism with your popcorn.
Nice, Sev. One of my favorite Jim Thompson knock-offs.
Huppert is truly a doll here and I loved this disc.
Yep, it was a good, although unusual adaptation of Thompson's Pop. 1280.
Anatomy of a Murder First class production. Worth multiple viewing chiefly because the performances. Casting was crucial in this one. Everyone is pitch perfect, due, more than likely, to Otto Preminger. The plot is absurdly simple: a man, who is on trial for killing a man after the victim raped his wife, pleads temporary insanity. Ben Gazzara is the man, James Stewart is his lawyer, Lee Remick - the bombshell wife, Authur O'Connell - Stewart's recently-off-the-wagon assistant, Eve Arden - Stewart's secretary, Brooks West and George C. Scott as the prosecuting team. The side players are first rate as well. It's a savvy, very smartly produced, slow-moving, courtroom drama that bears close watching or you'll miss Preminger's cumulative effect. I'm on seconds now.
It's better than the book, written by an ex-prosecutor who later sat as a justice on the Michigan Supreme Court -- John Voelker. Notice the similarity to the hero's name, Paul Biegler? (But the author used the pen-name Robert Traver.)
I think it's Preminger's best film. Stewart -- whose mannerisms caused him to be a much underrated actor -- is superb, matched, of course, by the young lion, George C. Scott. The judge is the celebrated Boston lawyer, Joseph N. Welch, who dramatically shot down Joe McCarthy on TV.
Probably the best "trial" movie I've ever seen.
But it's Biegler's "trial" movie, for sure. There isn't a single scene in the film that he isn't in or that he isn't privy to. Finely structured as the film is I really wanted a narrative interruption of some kind, a tonal inflection - if you know what I mean. When Scott showed up it altered the tone somewhat though it inevitably took a back seat to Stewart's golly-gee straightforwardness (What the heck was he doing sitting next to Duke?? I would have loved to hear Stewart tear off 'Drop Me Off In Harlem"!).
I wonder if Preminger could have made the same kind of film without Stewart.
*** SPOILER ALERT ***
Well, the novel is a first person narrative by Biegler. His legal asides and observations are what give extra spice to the material.
Voelker also wrote a book called Small Town D.A., a sort of fictional "memoir" of his own experiences.
You can detect his prosecutorial bias even in the title of the book/movie -- Anatomy of a Murder. A murder? If the guy who pulled the trigger is not guilty by reason of insanity, how can this be the story of a murder?
Can you say the victim was not murdered because the perpetrator was found not guilty? At any rate, as you point out, it isn't really the story of a murder - it's the story of a trial.
My point was Traver/Voelker's prosecutorial bias.
By titling his book Anatomy of a Murder rather than, say, Anatomy of a Homicide (or something more exciting yet still neutral), he implicitly set out his attitude.
In a room full of lawyers, perhaps. Murder is a legal term that has a specific meaning in the context of the law. But the average Joe doesn't necessarily see it this way. In fact, many people view homicide and murder as interchangeable.
It's quibbling granted, but the word murder has stronger societal implications than strictly legal ones (and I certainly don't see it as "neutral"). But as the drama involves people and not statues I can see why the film, which is dependent upon the illustration of relationships, would prove a more satisfactory story than a verbal description of a story involving extended legal procedure. Not that a talented writer couldn't create a poignant murder story without undue emphasis on legal procedure (look at Capote's In Cold Blood, where the word "murder" is implied). But to my mind, "murder", in general, suggests a breach in human relationship much more than it signals a prosecutoral or even adversarial perspective or approach to the narrative.
I don't think Voelker used the term "murder" in his title to suggest a breach in human relation ships.
No question the word is more provocative than others, though.