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Anatomy of a Murder

From Academic Kids

Anatomy of a Murder is a 1959 film which tells the story of a man charged with murdering a man who may have raped his wife; the bulk of the film's plot revolves around the drama as it unfolds in court. It stars James Stewart as the man's defense lawyer and George C. Scott as the prosecuting attorney. Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara, Arthur O'Connell, Eve Arden, Kathryn Grant, and Orson Bean also star.

The movie, based on an actual case in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, was adapted by Wendell Mayes from the novel by Robert Traver (pen name of John D. Voelker, a Michigan Supreme Court judge from 1957-1959). The movie was directed by Otto Preminger. The film was noted for featuring unusually frank (for 1959) dialogue, and was among the first Hollywood films that challenged the stringent Hayes Production Code.

It was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role (James Stewart), Best Actor in a Supporting Role, (Arthur O'Connell), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (George C. Scott), Best Cinematography, Black-and-White, Best Film Editing, Best Picture and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.

The role of the judge was offered to both Spencer Tracy and Burl Ives, but finally was given to Joseph Welch, a real-life lawyer who had made a name for himself when representing the United States Army in hearings conducted by Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

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