Otto Preminger turned this 1959 courtroom drama, based on the popular novel, into terrific adult drama. James Stewart stars as a small-town lawyer who defends an army officer (Ben Gazzara) accused of murdering a bartender who assaulted his wife (Lee Remick). The taut script, large performance by Stewart, and then-daring elements of the story (words like "panties" are spoken in the context of discussing a sex crime) give the action a certain immediacy--which you don't find very often in today's movies about jurisprudence. Nice work by Remick and Gazzara, as well as George C. Scott, Arthur O'Connell, and real-life judge Joseph N. Welch, who plays the judge in this film. A very good experience all around. --Tom Keogh
A virtuoso James Stewart (Vertigo) plays a small-town Michigan lawyer who takes on a difficult case: that of a young Army lieutenant (The Killing of a Chinese Bookie’s Ben Gazzara) accused of murdering the local tavern owner who he believes raped his wife (Days of Wine and Roses’ Lee Remick). This gripping, envelope-pushing courtroom potboiler, the most popular film from Hollywood provocateur Otto Preminger (Laura), was groundbreaking for the frankness of its discussion of sex—more than anything else, it is a striking depiction of the power of words. With its outstanding supporting cast—including a young George C. Scott (Patton) as a fiery prosecuting attorney and legendary real-life attorney Joseph N. Welch as the judge—and influential jazz score by Duke Ellington, Anatomy of a Murder is a Hollywood landmark; it was nominated for seven Oscars, including best picture.
SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
• New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
• New alternate 5.1 soundtrack, presented in DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray edition
• New interview with Otto Preminger biographer Foster Hirsch
• Critic Gary Giddins explores Duke Ellington’s score in a new interview
• A look at the relationship between graphic designer Saul Bass and Preminger with Bass biographer Pat Kirkham
• Newsreel footage from the set
• Excerpts from a 1967 episode of Firing Line, featuring Preminger in discussion with William F. Buckley Jr.
• Excerpts from the work in progress Anatomy of “Anatomy”: The Making of a Movie
• Behind-the-scenes photographs by Life magazine’s Gjon Mili
• Trailer, featuring on-set footage
• PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Nick Pinkerton and a 1959 Life magazine article on real-life lawyer Joseph N. Welch, who plays the judge in the film