Home Culture Oldie Goldie: This Week’s Movie-To-Watch From Long Ago
Oldie Goldie: This Week’s Movie-To-Watch From Long Ago

Oldie Goldie: This Week’s Movie-To-Watch From Long Ago


The modern young woman (or man) should be well-acquainted with the arts, and boast a decent knowledge of films on hand, old and new alike. Here, we introduce to you every week classic films you should watch at least once before you die.

Oldie Goldie

Next in line in the oldie goldie series is a film based on the play of a most ingenious female crime novelist, Agatha Christie. The detective-mystery genre is and will always be loved and celebrated by our society, one that is obsessed with epistemological questions and answers. Witness for the Prosecution authored by Christie appears to be your typical courtroom drama set in London. But wait.

Some quick not-always-fun facts about Witness for the Prosecution the film:

  • Came out in 1957
  • Directed by Billy Wilder, one of the most acclaimed filmmaker of Hollywood’s golden age
    • You may have heard of his other works ‘Some Like It Hot’ starring Marilyn Monroe and ‘The Apartment’
  • Written By Agatha Christie (rivals the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)
    • Based on the rewritten ending of the play
    • If you have read Christie’s works before you know how she likes to add twists to her stories. This is one of my favourites.
  • There is a 2016 BBC miniseries on the same story as well. Check out here
  • Ratings: G, PG… safe as safe can be. Good for family nights.
  • Rotten Tomatoes gave it a full 100% (yes there is no mistake) and on IMDb it got an average rating of 8.4
What is the story about?

A veteran lawyer Sir Wilfred Robarts, known by his peers as a ‘barrister for the hopeless’, takes the defense for the murder of a rich widow Emily French. However while all evidence so far points to the defendant, the accused Leonard Vole himself insists on his innocence. The film follows the barrister’s journey of unravelling more details to counter the favourable case of the prosecution and attempts to overturn Vole’s position.

My thumbs up thumbs down

Secrets, lies, betrayals, you got the whole package in this film’s dramatic plot. Although the story development took awhile to build up at the beginning, I promise you the later two thirds of the show will give you enough excitement worth your two hours.

A triumphant smile.

A quick recognition of the all-star cast playing Leonard Vole, his wife Romaine and barrister Charles respectively: Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich and Charles Laughton. Unlike his previous ‘hero’ roles, Tyrone plays the victim in this story. He injects the same charisma into his portrayal of the poor accused murderer you can’t help but want to believe in his innocence. Marlene Dietrich as Romaine Vole is elusive and bold; she paints this attractive figure that makes you despise and pity her. Charles Laughton on the other hand defined the barrister’s personality in this grumpy and weirdly humorous way that is oddly endearing. Their acting delivered the plot so well, you will not be disappointed.

I only had a qualm with how Charles was a tad unsubtle in suggesting there was a twist. Twice even. That made the surprise a little too obvious. Fortunately it did not give the ending away and just made you guess. The final revelation made me go “ooohhhhhh..” followed by “oh no”.

Made you want to watch the film now, didn’t I?

A Fun Fact (or 2, for you)

The naggy nurse of the barrister played by Charles Laughton is played by his real-life wife. Their chemistry is annoyingly adorable to watch.

*Also, Vole is a word play and a very apt name for the accused man in this story.*

Hui Ling Chang I eat honey for breakfast, thrive on funny people, and write poems to stay sane.


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