ANATOMY OF A MURDER (1959) B/W widescreen 160m dir: Otto Preminger

w/James Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara, Arthur O'Connell, Eve Arden, Kathryn Grant, Joseph N. Welch, Brooks West, George C. Scott, Murray Hamilton

Michigan lawyer (Stewart) defends an army lieutenant (Gazzara) on a murder charge after the man's wife (Remick) has been raped.

From The Movie Guide: "Courtroom histrionics given sizzle and sex by Otto Preminger and Duke Ellington's jazz. Stewart shocked 1950s audiences with his gritty, quirky performance as a confirmed bachelor defense attorney speaking directly about contraceptives, pink panties and rape. Old pros Arden and O'Connell flawlessly support the star performance in a talky tennis game. Gazzara as a brutal army stud and Remick as his duplicitous, sluttish wife received well-deserved boosts for their efforts.

"The casting of Remick was Preminger's major concern after Lana Turner left the project (the actress reportedly slapped the director who slapped her back) and Jayne Mansfield backed off from the script. Joseph Welch, who plays the judge, was the famed Army-McCarthy hearings lawyer who would go on to become a real life judge. Even today, when these issues seem tame, the long drama crackles along."

ANATOMY OF A MURDER was nominated for seven Oscars: Best Picture, Actor (Stewart), Supporting Actor (O'Connell, Scott), Adapted Screenplay (Wendell Mayes), Cinematography (Sam Leavitt), and Editing (Louis R. Loeffler). This was the year that BEN-HUR swept the Academy Awards, winning all ten Oscars that it was nominated for and completely shutting out Preminger's film.