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Act of Murder
     

An Act of Murder

Director: Michael Gordon,

Cast: Fredric March, Edmond O'Brien, Florence Eldridge

 
In this provocative drama, a stern hard-liner judge commits euthanasia to save his terminally ill wife from further suffering. He decides to kill her by driving the both of them off a cliff. He succeeds in ending her pain, but unfortunately he survives and ends up turning himself in with a full confession. Now it is up to his brilliant lawyer to defend him. He not

Overview

In this provocative drama, a stern hard-liner judge commits euthanasia to save his terminally ill wife from further suffering. He decides to kill her by driving the both of them off a cliff. He succeeds in ending her pain, but unfortunately he survives and ends up turning himself in with a full confession. Now it is up to his brilliant lawyer to defend him. He not only justifies the old judge's actions, he also proves that the wife took a fatal dose of poison before getting in the car; therefore she committed suicide. The judge is freed and returns to his courtroom where he oversees his cases with considerably more sympathy and understanding than he did before.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Tom Wiener
Although its dramatics are fairly obvious, Act of Murder remains a powerful film, if only for its boldness in dealing with a subject that, 50 years after its release, remains taboo for most Americans. Calvin Cooke (Fredric March) is an old-fashioned kind of man whose profession, a judge in a small town near Philadelphia, allows him to pass sentence literally on his fellow citizens. When his beloved wife Catherine (Florence Eldridge, March's wife in real life) falls terminally ill, he and their doctor conceal the nature of her illness in a vain attempt to ease her suffering. After Calvin witnesses a policeman put a dog, critically hurt by an automobile, out of its misery by shooting it, he knows what he has to do. He's willing to die along with his wife, but the irony is that he survives their deliberate auto crash; he must then stand trial for her murder and he winds up with David Douglas (Edmond O'Brien), a brash young lawyer who is dating the Cooke daughter, as his lawyer. Douglas has clashed with Calvin in the courtroom before, and their adversarial relationship continues, as Calvin insists on following the letter of the law, pleading guilty to his crime. Through a twist, he is let off the hook, but the film's sympathies clearly lie with his intent. March and Eldridge appeared in a number of films together, but none where the focus was so sharply on them, and they're wonderfully believable as a couple eternally devoted to one another.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/31/2017
UPC:
0025192397370
Original Release:
1948
Source:
Universal Mod
Time:
1:32:00
Sales rank:
5,296

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Fredric March Judge Calvin Cooke
Edmond O'Brien David Douglas
Florence Eldridge Catherine Cooke
Geraldine Brooks Ellie Cooke
Stanley Ridges Dr. Walter Morrison
John McIntire Judge Ogden
Frederic Tozere Charles Dayton
Will Wright Judge Jim Wilder
Virginia Brissac Mrs. Russell
Francis McDonald Mr. Russell
Mary Servoss Julia
Don Beddoe Pearson
Clarence Muse Mr. Pope
Paul E. Burns Actor
Ray Teal Actor

Technical Credits
Michael Gordon Director
Daniele Amfitheatrof Score Composer
John P. Austin Set Decoration/Design
Michael Blankfort Screenwriter
Robert F. Boyle Production Designer
Jerry Bresler Producer
Ralph Dawson Editor
Russell A. Gausman Set Decoration/Design
Bernard Herzbrun Production Designer
Hal Mohr Cinematographer
Robert Thoeren Screenwriter
Bud Westmore Makeup
Yvonne Wood Costumes/Costume Designer

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