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Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 6 February 1958 (USA)
A veteran British barrister must defend his client in a murder trial that has surprise after surprise.

Director:

Billy Wilder

Writers:

Agatha Christie (in Agatha Christie's international stage success), Billy Wilder (screen play) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Popularity
3,391 ( 531)

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Top Rated Movies #66 | Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Tyrone Power ... Leonard Vole
Marlene Dietrich ... Christine
Charles Laughton ... Sir Wilfrid Roberts
Elsa Lanchester ... Miss Plimsoll
John Williams ... Brogan-Moore
Henry Daniell ... Mayhew
Ian Wolfe ... Carter
Torin Thatcher ... Mr. Myers
Norma Varden ... Mrs. Emily Jane French
Una O'Connor ... Janet MacKenzie
Francis Compton ... Judge
Philip Tonge ... Inspector Hearne
Ruta Lee ... Diana
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Storyline

It's Britain, 1953. Upon his return to work following a heart attack, irrepressible barrister Sir Wilfrid Robarts, known as a barrister for the hopeless, takes on a murder case, much to the exasperation of his medical team, led by his overly regulated private nurse, Miss Plimsoll, who tries her hardest to ensure that he not return to his hard living ways - including excessive cigar smoking and drinking - while he takes his medication and gets his much needed rest. That case is defending American war veteran Leonard Vole, a poor, out of work, struggling inventor who is accused of murdering his fifty-six year old lonely and wealthy widowed acquaintance, Emily French. The initial evidence is circumstantial but points to Leonard as the murderer. Despite being happily married to East German former beer hall performer Christine Vole, he fostered that friendship with Mrs. French in the hopes that she would finance one of his many inventions to the tune of a few hundred pounds. It thus does ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It's climaxed by the 10 breath-stopping minutes you ever lived! Don't reveal the ending-please! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

6 February 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Testigo de cargo See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$8,175,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$16,350,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Production began before the leads were even cast. See more »

Goofs

When Vole and Wilfrid first meet in his office, he refuses to take the case and puts his wig in its container, closes it, and the lid is noticeably 6 inches from totally closed. The next time we see the container it is completely closed. See more »

Quotes

Christine Vole: He is not my husband. Leonard and I went through a form of marriage in Hamburg, but, I had a husband living at the time somewhere in East Germany in the Russian zone.
Sir Wilfrid: Did you tell Leonard?
Christine Vole: I did not! It would have been stupid to tell him. He would not have married me and I would have been left behind to starve in the rubble.
Brogan-Moore: But, he did marry you and brought you safely to this country. Don't you think you should be very grateful to him?
Christine Vole: One can get very tired of gratitude.
See more »

Crazy Credits

As the end credits appear on screen, an announcer's voice is heard: "The management of this theater suggests that for the greater entertainment of your friends who have not yet seen the picture you will not divulge to anyone the secret of the ending of Witness for the Prosecution." See more »

Connections

Referenced in The New Mike Hammer: Mistress for the Prosecution (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

I May Never Go Home Anymore
Music by Ralph Arthur Roberts
Lyrics by Jack Brooks
Sung by Marlene Dietrich (uncredited)
Reprised a cappella by Tyrone Power (uncredited)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
This had me to the bitter end!
10 March 2006 | by HitchcocSee all my reviews

I love it when a movie captivates me, carries me along, then surprises me at the end. This is a masterpiece of human maneuvering. It has outstanding acting and a plot to die for. This is a fairly pedestrian Agatha Christie short story. I'm not saying it's not a wonderful story, just that it doesn't come to life like it does on the screen. Charles Laughton is the wonder barrister who is taking the case, even though he is in poor health. The murder case seems a relatively simple one until we begin to trip over the many layers left lying on the path. Marlene Dietrich does a masterful job in all her roles (I won't say anymore than that so I don't spoil the ending). Tyrone Power is able to balance his pathos and his potential guilt. The beauty of the movie is that it never takes itself too seriously. There are some modestly funny subplots and a great deal of careful investigation. I guarantee you that once you start watching, you won't be able to turn it off.


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