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Billy Wilder cowrote and directed this brilliant 1957 mystery based on Agatha Christie's celebrated play about an aging London barrister (Charles Laughton) who's preparing to retire when he takes the defense in the most vexing murder case of his distinguished career. In his final completed film (he died of a heart attack less than a year later), Tyrone Power plays the prime suspect in the murder of a wealthy widow, and Marlene Dietrich plays the wife of the accused, whose testimony--and true identity--holds the key to solving the case. A classic of courtroom suspense,Witness for the Prosecutionis one of those movies with enough double-crossing twists to keep the viewer guessing right up to the very end, when yet another surprise is deftly revealed. This being a Billy Wilder film, the dialogue is first-rate and the acting superb, with both Laughton and his offscreen wife Elsa Lanchester (playing the barrister's pesty nurse) winning Academy Awards for their performances. Although later films would concoct even more complicated courtroom scenarios, this remains one of the best films of its kind and a model for all those films that followed its lead.--Jeff Shannon
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CastMarlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton, Elsa Lanchester, Tyrone Power, John Williams
DirectorBilly Wilder
Screen WriterBilly Wilder, Harry Kurnitz, Agatha Christie, Larry Marcus
DVD Release Date:  December 11, 2001
Runtime:  116 minutes
Studio:  MGM (Video & DVD)
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review by . May 07, 2012
Very entertaining drama
Leonard Vole (Tyrone Power), an American living in London, is accused of killing an older woman who befriended him. His defense barrister (Charles Laughton) is convinced of the man's innocence but puzzled over the peculiar behavior of Mrs. Vole (Marlene Dietrich).      This movie's trailer touts the 'shocking' ending and, I have to say, I did find it so surprising that I immediately rewound the tape to watch and enjoy it again. Power is slick, handsome, and though …
review by . October 10, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
Seriously one of the great courtroom dramas of all time. A taut, unpredictable mystery...one of Agatha Christie's finest twists, and she was the master of the unguessable ending. Accompanied by terrific characters (all colorful and over the top, but highly entertaining) played to the hilt by some truly fine actors, many of whom were reaching the ends of their serious careers (Charles Laughton, Marlene Dietrich, Tyrone Power) but were also at the very top of their games.    I …
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