Libel

Libel

Director: Anthony Asquith

Cast: Anthony Asquith, Dirk Bogarde, Olivia de Havilland, Paul Massie

     
 
A man is forced to prove who he really is -- and discovers that it isn't as easy as one might think -- in this drama. Sir Mark Loddon (Dirk Bogarde) is a titled member of the British aristocracy who lives a life of wealth, privilege, and notoriety, until one day Jeffrey Buckenham (Paul Massie), a pilot from Canada, makes a startling accusation. Buckenham and Loddon

Overview

A man is forced to prove who he really is -- and discovers that it isn't as easy as one might think -- in this drama. Sir Mark Loddon (Dirk Bogarde) is a titled member of the British aristocracy who lives a life of wealth, privilege, and notoriety, until one day Jeffrey Buckenham (Paul Massie), a pilot from Canada, makes a startling accusation. Buckenham and Loddon were both inmates in the same POW camp during WWII, and Buckenham is convinced that Loddon is not the man he claims to be; Frank Welney, an actor who was also a prisoner in the same camp, bore a striking resemblance to Loddon, and he is convinced that the actor has taken Loddon's place. The press picks up Buckenham's story, and the question of Loddon's identity becomes the talk of all England; Lady Maggie Loddon (Olivia de Havilland), Mark's wife, is deeply offended and insists that he sue for libel to restore his good name. Mark obtains the services of Sir Wilfred (Robert Morley), one of the nation's best-respected attorneys, but it soon becomes evident that proving Mark's identity in court may not be as simple as it might seem; Mark suffered severe head injuries during the war that cause him to stutter at times and also result in periodic spells of amnesia; the testimony of the many witnesses called by Sir Wilfred and his opponent, Hubert Foxley (Wilfrid Hyde-White), establish no clear consensus of who Loddon really is. Libel was based on the popular stage drama by Edward Wooll.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
As a serious examination of identity, Libel falls short, but as a showcase for a sterling performance from Dirk Bogarde, Libel more than fits the bill. Of course, Libel was never really intended to be taken seriously as drama. It's a sleight of hand concept, and quite enjoyable, but its execution leaves a bit to be desired. There are a number of plot holes, such as accepting that Loddon's identity would not have been verified years before under general military procedure, and, of course, many will have a problem believing the very premise. Things are not helped by some arch and unbelievable dialogue which tries too hard to be "dramatic" and too often comes off as stilted. Still, the screenplay serves to provide Bogarde with ample opportunity to demonstrate his acting chops, and he does not fail. It's a wonderful tour de force performance -- or performances, as the case may be -- and Bogarde is simply riveting. As his wife, Olivia de Havilland is not given enough to do, but when given the chance -- as in the scene in which she turns on her husband -- she runs with it. Anthony Asquith's direction is fine, but, a few angular shots aside, visually unspectacular. A better screenplay would have improved matters, but as it is, Libel still succeeds as long as Bogarde is around.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/25/2011
UPC:
0883316312919
Original Release:
1959
Source:
Warner Archives
Time:
1:40:00
Sales rank:
6,994

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Dirk Bogarde Sir Mark Loddon,Frank Welney, No. 15
Olivia de Havilland Maggie Loddon
Paul Massie Jeffrey Buckenham
Robert Morley Sir Wilfred
Wilfrid Hyde-White Hubert Foxley
Anthony Dawson Gerald Loddon
Richard Wattis Judge
Richard Dimbleby Himself
Martin Miller Dr. Schrott
Millicent Martin Maisie
Bill Shine Guide
Ivan Samson Adm. Loddon
Sebastian Saville Michael Loddon
Robert Shaw 1st Photographer
Geoffrey Bayldon 2nd Photographer
Gordon Sterne Maddox
Arthur Howard Car Salesman
Joyce Carey Miss Sykes
Josephine Middleton Mrs. Squires
Kenneth Griffith Fitch
Barbara Archer Barmaid
Anthony Doonan Man at Bar
Vanda Hudson Girl in Street

Technical Credits
Anthony Asquith Director
Frank Clarke Editor
Anatole de Grunwald Producer,Screenwriter
Christian Dior Costumes/Costume Designer
Benjamin Frankel Score Composer
Tom Howard Special Effects
Robert Krasker Cinematographer
Paul Sheriff Art Director
Karl Tunberg Screenwriter

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