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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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