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Monday, October 13, 2008

Anatomy of Greatness

posted by on October 13 at 16:18 PM

I had no idea Anatomy of a Murder is currently running at the Grand Illusion. You must watch this movie! It’s directed by Otto Preminger, scored by Duke Ellington, and stars James Stewart. Is there more you could ask from cinema than this: a German director, black American composer, and a Hollywood legend? The beautiful god, the lusty jazz, the muscular direction. Catch the movie before it goes on Thursday.

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oops. just saw it on TCM...
great movie. edgy for its time.
jimmy stewart talking about sperm and panties.

Posted by chops | October 13, 2008 4:35 PM

A great American classic. Panties, yes. No one had used the word panties in film before in that context. Ben Gazzara's and Lee Remick's (both superb) characters are guilty as hell of something. We're not quite sure what. A wonderful piece about sexy, naughty people and their base trailer park mentalities. Stewart's performance is nothing short of astonishing as the cognizant nice guy who occasionally takes a peek at the dark side and knows it well. Eve Arden is as snappy as it gets as the wise-cracking, principled sidekick.

Posted by Bauhaus | October 13, 2008 5:07 PM

This is indeed a great film. As I recall, George C. Scott gives a great performance as well. I think it was one of the first jazz scores done in film. BTW, the actress Kathryn Grant who appears in the film was Bing Crosby's second wife.

Posted by lark | October 13, 2008 5:17 PM

maybe that's cause your new film editor SUCKS!!!!!

Posted by apttitle | October 13, 2008 5:21 PM

One of the all-time-greats from old Hollywood, and one that has hardly dated.

A few things to note: Otto Preminger was Austrian, not German.

The actor who plays the judge in the film, Joseph Welch, was the U.S. Army attorney who famously stared down Joe McCarthy on television("Have you no sense of decency?") and initiated the fall of his political career.

Posted by Rick | October 13, 2008 5:26 PM

Actually, I think the score is mostly by Billy Strayhorn. As usual, Ellington got the credit and Strayhorn did most of the work.

Posted by Rob | October 13, 2008 5:37 PM

I love this film for all these reasons (Preminger always had great scores) but also because it reminds us of a time in America when defense attorneys were deemed heroes and our "fact-based" justice system was not regarded with derision.

Posted by Jim Demetre | October 13, 2008 5:55 PM

@3 -

Alex North's soundtrack for "Streetcar Named Desire," with Marlon Brando, was the first heavily jazz-themed score in a major Hollywood feature film. It was released five years or so before "Anatomy of a Murder."

Posted by Smarm | October 13, 2008 6:46 PM

Not only that, but Saul Bass designed the titles. Kick ass!

Posted by Joe M | October 13, 2008 6:51 PM

I saw this movie on TCM not long ago and will join the chorus singing the praises of its ahead-of-its-timeness. Jimmy Stewart is awesome, there are great humorous moments, but the ending is really what did it for me. Hopefully I am not spoiling the movie, but I loved the did-he-or-didn't he aspect with regard to the panties. We are conditioned to believe Jimmy Stewart must be a hero, but maybe in this case he was less than ethical...

Posted by Luke | October 13, 2008 7:02 PM

I can now finally state that there can be things I agree with Charles on 100% without reservation.

Nice catch, @9, too.

Posted by JoeG | October 13, 2008 8:39 PM

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