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The Star Chamber (Bilingual) [Import]


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Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Douglas, Hal Holbrook, Yaphet Kotto, Sharon Gless, James Sikking
  • Directors: Peter Hyams
  • Writers: Peter Hyams, Roderick Taylor
  • Producers: Frank Yablans, Jonathan A. Zimbert, Kurt Neumann
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, Widescreen, NTSC, Import
  • Language: English, Spanish, French
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • Release Date: Feb. 1 2005
  • Run Time: 109 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006Z2NQI

Product Description

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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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 23 2004
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 By Erik North on 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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