Witness for the Prosecution. Billy Wilder. 1957.
Hey! Billy Wilder! Oh, yeah. I bought a box set some years ago and this is the only movie from that set I haven’t seen yet.
And it’s based on an Agatha Christie short story?
Charles Laughton, fatter than ever, is present, as is Marlene Dietrich and Tyrone Power. And Elsa Lanchester!
What! This is the 66th most top-rated movie on imdb? How odd. I haven’t heard of this movie.
This is really a throwback to screwball comedies from decades ago. The dialogue snaps and crackles, and there’s all these little uncommented-upon sight gags going on in the background. It’s really fun!
But when the movie disappears into the courts, the it loses some sparkle. It devolves into a quite amusing TV courts drama, but that’s a bit of a disappointment.
On the other hand, it’s such a simple, straightforward movie that all the expected unexpected twists and turns feel comfortable and strangely satisfying.
It does what it does extremely well. Best in class.
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