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The Star Chamber (Bilingual) [Import]

Michael Douglas , Hal Holbrook , Peter Hyams    R (Restricted)   DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 27.78
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When crime on the street gets out of hand, a group of socially prominent men form a vigilante squad. Michael Douglas is chilling.

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
It is often said that one of the cornerstones of our criminal justice system is the concept that it is better to let a hundred guilty men go free than to convict one innocent. But what if you had to live in the community where those hundred guilty murderers and rapists were set free...?
Although an imperfect film, I thought it did a good job of being fair to both sides of the argument (just like the film "Magnum Force"), being unusually free of the usual liberal Hollywood bias.
The criminal justice system will always be flawed, because human beings are flawed, they still make mistakes even when they try their best. But let's face it, even though the standard is supposed to be "proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt," day after day after day suave defense attorneys bamboozle sheepish jurors into a standard of "beyond the shadow of a doubt." Many defense attorneys often don't try cases -- they try causes. They ask the jury not to render a verdict based on the evidence or the facts of the case at hand, but instead based on how they feel about some social or political issue that they claim is the REAL reason why their client was charged. Time and again, judges, jurors, prosecutors, police and the public are asked to gouge their own eyes out and lobotomize themsleves into ignoring clear evidence of guilt -- even when it proves guilt beyond the shadow of a doubt -- because of some highly unlikely technical interpretation and misapplication of the letter of the law in order to violate its spirit. To many defense lawyers, the term "intellectual honesty" is an oxymoron.... (If you doubt anything in this paragraph, then you've obviously never heard of the OJ Simpson case.)
It is easy to understand Michael Douglas' frustrations as a judge.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Judges, Jurors, And Executioners Feb. 8 2004
Format:VHS Tape
Michael Douglas portrays an idealistic L.A. County superior court judge who finds himself in a cabal of judges known as THE STAR CHAMBER, in this 1983 film of the same name directed and co-written by Peter Hyams (OUTLAND; CAPRICORN ONE; 2010). His character is frustrated about letting criminals go scot-free on charges ranging from kidnapping to murder because of technicalities; even though the evidence would clearly put these thugs on ice, improper procedures by the police force Douglas to obey the letter of the law and dismiss them.
But he gets a look into this Star Chamber cabal from his mentor (Hal Holbrook, good as ever), where he and seven other judges, plus Douglas now, pass judgment on and later find and execute the criminals. In essence, this Star Chamber consists of judges so fed up with the System that they resort to vigilantism. Douglas, however, doesn't see this particular cabal as the answer, and he has to struggle with this dichotomy.
In a twisted sort of way, this seems like the 1973 Dirty Harry film MAGNUM FORCE as reimagined by John Grisham (though this was years before Grisham was ever widely known). But I think the film, though imperfect in places, makes it clear that a private cabal of judges deciding on the violent punishment of criminals who slip through on technicalities is no better (and realistically far worse) than a flawed prosecution in a real court of law. We may think the justice system is slanted so heavily in favor of the criminals, but that's only because that one day, through some weird twists of fate, we too may find ourselves in the position of the criminals.
Douglas and Holbrook are well-matched here, and Hyams' direction, aided by his co-screenwriter Roderick Taylor, brings out some good points in a somewhat flawed but otherwise well-done courtroom drama that is in need of a revival.
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Format:VHS Tape
I used this movie as part of a project for a class on the original Star Chamber in England. That court involved secret trials among the elite and decided punishments on people. The Star Chamber received its name from the actual chamber. The ceiling was painted like a night sky. This movie really brings to light what a modern day star chamber might do. The movie centers around an idealistic young judge (Micheal Douglas) who is frustrated with a system that allows defendants off on technicalities. He becomes aware of a group of judges who feel the same way led by Hal Holbrook. They pass their own sentences and carry out their own punishments. The story then centers on the struggle Douglas has between his desire to punish those who deserve it and the desire to maintain a legality to the system. The scene where Douglas first learns of the Star Chamber is one that I think I'll always remember, just for it's honesty. I remember thinking that sometimes I felt the same way that the judges of this Star Chamber felt, you might too.
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Format:VHS Tape
I used this movie as part of a project for a class on the original Star Chamber in England. This movie really brings to light what a modern day star chamber might do. The movie centers around an idealistic young judge (Micheal Douglas) who is frustrated with a system that allows defendants off on technicalities. He becomes aware of a group of judges who feel the same way led by Hal Holbrook. They pass their own sentences and carry out their own punishments. The story then centers on the struggle Douglas has between his desire to punish those who deserve it and the desire to maintain a legality to the system. The scene where Douglas first learns of the Star Chamber is one that I think I'll always remember, just for it's honesty. I remember thinking that sometimes I felt the same way that the judges of this Star Chamber felt, you might too.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
MEETS EXPECTATIONS.
Published 1 month ago by gbf
5.0 out of 5 stars A Little Known Sleeper of a Movie
I saw this movie a long time ago and still remember it well. A group of judges, dissatisfied with the system that can let a dangerous criminal walk due to a technicality, decide... Read more
Published on Dec 22 2003 by Michael A. Newman
3.0 out of 5 stars LOST POTENTIAL
I remember catching this film on Showtime or Cinemax, one boring weekday evening, and being captured by the cinematography, lighting, mood, etc.. Read more
Published on Oct. 19 2003 by Amir W. Saeed
5.0 out of 5 stars this belongs on DVD
i really like this better than any of michael douglas' performances. he desreved an award for this rather than WALL STREET. i found it more suspenseful than FATAL ATTRACTION. Read more
Published on July 14 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars A class act
Its been almost 20 years since this movie came out and it has all but been forgotten about. It is one of my all time favorites in that it stretches your thinking from the very... Read more
Published on March 15 2001 by William J Skillender
4.0 out of 5 stars A double cross story
Judge Hardin (michael Douglas)gets frustrated after he can't proscecute two suspect in a brutal childmurder . Read more
Published on June 20 2000 by Silver
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible
This movies has no plot what so ever. The whole thing is just terrible
Published on Oct. 10 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Michael Douglas Sleeper Pick
When discussing Michael Douglas films, this one rarely pops up. Why? That's what you'll ask after seeing this excellent performance. An intriguing plot that draws you in. Read more
Published on Jan. 13 1999
2.0 out of 5 stars Good premise, but weak plot line
Good movie idea about superior court judges taking the law into their own hands when technicalities allow guilty criminals to be set free. Read more
Published on Dec 5 1998 by Nelson Hellwig
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