geezer cinema: stowaway (joe penna, 2021)
music friday: rock and roll hall of fame part 1

witness for the prosecution (billy wilder, 1957)

Crowd-pleasing courtroom drama from an Agatha Christie play that is silly nonsense but fun nonetheless. Charles Laughton seems to be enjoying himself, and his cagey overacting is probably the best thing about the movie. Nominated for six Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actress (Elsa Lanchester), but it won none, and Marlene Dietrich supposedly felt terrible that she didn't even get nominated. There are lots of gossipy items attached to the film ... both Charles Laughton and Marlene Dietrich were said to have had a crush on Tyrone Power. Elsa Lanchester is welcome every time she turns up on the screen, at least for people like me who love Elsa Lanchester.

The promotional campaign for the film centered on the surprise ending.

I had a good time watching Witness for the Prosecution. Laughton, Dietrich, and Lanchester were the main reason, although I'll grudgingly tip my cap to Agatha Christie for another of her surprise endings. Most of the time, I'm of the "there's no there there" school of thought about Christie, but there's no denying that she knows how to lead a reader on. If you've never seen Witness for the Prosecution, and you are a Christie fan, you should jump at the chance to watch this film.



Seems like I've been seeing a lot of Charles Laughton lately in some '30s pictures -- Rembrandt, Mutiny on the Bounty, Les Miserables. He's always so amazingly good. I remember liking him in this one too quite a bit, also of course Advise & Consent, his last. Good stuff!

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