Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Great (film) Debates vol. 71

Motion to get a better film! Granted!

What film offers the best courtroom drama?



Panelist: Tennessee Jed

Presumed Innocent, by a wide margin. Second place is The Verdict.

Panelist: ScottDS

A Few Good Men is certainly up there but I'm going with the third act of Oliver Stone's JFK in which Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) attempts to prove that the assassination of President Kennedy was a conspiracy spearheaded by New Orleans businessman Clay Shaw and several others. Say what you want about Stone but this film represents the sum total of his talents. The Oscar-winning editing and cinematography are first-rate, Kevin Costner has never been better, and the line "Back, and to the left" became part of our pop culture lexicon.

Panelist: T-Rav

I liked the book better than the movie, but still, definitely To Kill A Mockingbird. It's got great acting and handles the pre-civil rights South with a far defter touch than more recent courtroom films (i.e., any of the John Grisham movies, or anything else) have done. Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch equals awesome.

Panelist: BevfromNYC

My favorite is actually Judgment at Nuremburg with Spencer Tracy, Richard Widmark, and a host of unexpected dramatic star turns as witnesses like Judy Garland and Montgomery Clift. And Burt Lancaster’s performance was just breath-taking.

Panelist: AndrewPrice

Presumed Innocent is easily the most realistic legal drama on film and I think it's a great film too. So I would go with that. BUT, there is a close second too which I really like: Breaker Morant. That's another one that's surprisingly realistic about military justice and how easily justice can be perverted for political reasons. It also has the benefit of being a true story. Big thumbs up.

Comments? Thoughts?

78 comments:

Tennessee Jed said...

I obviously like Andrew's choice, but the others are interesting as well. On Judgement, I particularly remember a fine performance by Maxmillian Schell. And Breaker Morant is right there as well. Edward Woodward is one of the very best, and this was his greatest performance. I cannot think of other films involving the Boer War, but The Breaker is a much undervalued film.

I cannot fault your selection, either Rav. Mockingbird is a great film and a great book.

Scott - JFK was a well done film. Probably my biggest problem is that Garrison was such a loop job who has been so discredited. It was one of Costner's better performances, and also a nice performance by Tommy Lee Jones. Stone is a very good film maker, but he is a nut, which probably disqualified this one for me. I did enjoy A Few Good Men. Talk about iconic lines: "Truth!! You can't handle the truth."

At the end of the day, Turow is the best writer of legal fiction, and this was a unbelievable novel and film.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, No doubt the fact you share a name with Mr. Woodward in no way influenced your thinking! :P

I agree about Turow, that one really just stands head and shoulders about the rest.

tryanmax said...

So does the question specifically limit us to dramas? Because My Cousin Vinnie is my all-time favorite courtroom movie.

If I had to pick another, I've never forgotten the powerful scene from Amistad where the Africans stand and say "Give us free!"

And not that I go for the film entirely, but I was reflecting with some friends earlier tonight about how Erin Brockovich is an excellent showcase for Albert Finney.

Anonymous said...

When I first saw the question I thought of two movies A Few Good Men as mentioned by ScottDS (YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH) and Breaker Morant (Shoot straight, you bastards. Don't make a mess of it! - he actually said this before his death sentence was carried out). I watched the movie as a kid (and a few times since) and I have read a few books about the situation.

My favourite is Breaker Morant, as Andrew says it has the benefit of being a true story and it doesn't hurt that it is very well written and it is about some Aussie bad-asses!

Scott.

Tennessee Jed said...

Tryanmax - I am Soooooo disappointed you would ask a question about being limited. You know well by now that the question means whatever you say it means, and to your credit, you did list it (in apparent defiance of any foolishly restrictive rules. A film can be humorously dramatic, no?

Tennessee Jed said...

If the youngsters in this crowd have not seen the film "The Verdict" you should. It is undervalued. Nominated for best picture in 1982, it was part of an incredibly strong field with E.T. that lost to Gandhi. The novel was adapted into a screenplay by David Mamet. The film stars Paul Newman in one of his very best roles, Jamew Mason, Jack Wrden, Charlotte Rampling, and Lindsay Crouse (Mamet's spouse for awhile.) Set in Boston, Newman is an alcoholic lawyer who takes on the Catholic church in a map-practice cover up case.

Tennessee Jed said...

Rav - that whole Harper Lee / Truman Capote thing has me slightly perplexed, I must say. And while Grisham has pretty much long since worn out his welcome, I must say his first book, A Time to Kill" was his best. It was initially ignored, then re-released after "The Firm" went #1 bestseller.

As a film, it pretty much was the first big leading role for MacConahey, and first big role for Samuel L. Jackson after Pulp Fiction breakout. I happened to wath the film again recently, and had forgotten how many big stars were in that movie, relatively early in their careers.

Tennessee Jed said...

Edward Woodward fits my category of underrated actors. He is mostly known for Breaker Morant and The Equalizer (long before there was Person of Interest.) More's the pity, I say, because he was great in both those roles.

Anonymous said...

How could I forget "A Time To Kill" and SLJ's "Yes, they deserved to die and I hope they burn in hell!"

Scott.

Tennessee Jed said...

Anon. Scott - unfortunately, he seems to actually still feel that way in real life, but he is talking about conservatives, Republicans, and anyone who doesn't worship at the altar of Obama. Still, a great line from that film.

tryanmax said...

Jed, if you are disappointed in me, then I am disappointed in myself. Boo. :-(

ScottDS said...

Jed -

It's been a while but I have seen The Verdict. I should probably make a point to see it again one of these days. Man, Sidney Lumet was a versatile filmmaker!

I still haven't seen Presumed Innocent or Breaker Mourant.

As for JFK, I can appreciate the film in a bubble without the baggage attached to it. Oliver Stone actually published the screenplay with copious research notes and references but I imagine some of the info is now out of date.

(And if you ever find yourself in Dallas, check out the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.)

ScottDS said...

tryanmax -

I'm surprised no one else mentioned any comedy films. Then again, My Cousin Vinny is an actual courtroom movie whereas a lot of comedies simply feature single courtroom scenes.

I'm thinking of Bananas, Liar Liar, and Ghostbusters II.

And of course, there's always Disorder in the Court, which is one of the best Three Stooges shorts.

T-Rav said...

Don't worry, tryanmax. We're all equally disappointed in you. :-)

Tennessee Jed said...

Scott - I too was initially caught up in the Jim Garrison book when it was first published. However, it was kind of like some of the old Geraldo shows. Enough small unrelated circumstantial evidence building a bridge too far. Garrison even had a cameo in JFK as liberal former chief justice Earl Warren, for whom the commission was named. Garrison began to unfold even before modern forensic evidence. Still, America does love a good conspiracy, and JFK, like Arnold Palmer, was one of the first photogenic "stars" of the small screen. The fact he was foully murdered, and not all the facts were released was made to order for this kind of thing. Stone is a talented film maker, and it is a shame he is insane.

Tennessee Jed said...

tryanmax - l.o.l.!!

T-Rav said...

Jed, I think To Kill A Mockingbird is just great. It gives a lot of attention to the setting and to characters not directly involved in the drama (Scout, Boo Radley), and it's really more about a town and its conscience than about a trial.

As for the Harper Lee/Truman Capote thing, I couldn't grasp all of that if I tried.

T-Rav said...

As for Grisham, I like A Time To Kill quite a bit, because it follows some of the same lines; I kinda like The Client, and that's about it. The rest of it just seems derivative.

Good point on all the actors having early careers that included A Time To Kill. Besides McConaughey and Sam Jackson, there was Sandra Bullock, Kiefer Sutherland, Forest Whitaker, and probably one or two others I'm forgetting.

tryanmax said...

Speaking of Matthew McConaughey, it may exemplify the degree of my bad taste that I did happen to enjoy The Lincoln Lawyer. I don't care for McConaughey in his slacker roles--perhaps because he's too convincing--but for some reason I completely accept him as a lawyer.

Tennessee Jed said...

Rav - Greg Peck and the courtroom. Might I suggest "The Paradine Case" with Peck as an English barrister? It is older, but quite good. It's a Hithcock and features, in addition to Peck, Ann Todd, and the great Charles Laughton. The DVD is a nice transfer of an older film.

Anatomy of a Murder is another courtroom drama I loved as a teenage. It featured Jimmy Stewart, and Lee Remick who, along with the great Joanne Woodward, were my two favorite stresses from the 50's and early 60's.

Tennessee Jed said...

tryanmax - I love Michael Connelly as a writer, and have no problems with his books featuring Mickey Haller, but prefer his half-brother, Detective Harry Bosch. Along those lines, there is a great legal novel that needs to be turned into a screenplay. It is titled "Wrongful Death" by a young up and coming lawyer turn writer named Andrew Price. Strictly speaking, the plot doesn't reach the courtroom, but still ... check it out!

Tennessee Jed said...

while I can live with most of my own typographical errors (teenager in stead of teenage) turning Lee Remick and Joanne Woodward into "stresses" rather than actresses require correction ;)

tryanmax said...

LOL, I'm sure Andrew appreciates the plug, but you'll see I've already read and reviewed it. That said, for the benefit of the lurkers, it's a very good book. And I say that as someone who generally doesn't go in for legal fiction.

Floyd R. Turbo said...

I'm going with The Caine Mutiny, at least the latter part. Kubrick's Paths if Glory is also a good court martial drama with Kirk Douglas doing the honors as prosecutor.

Peter Ustinov directing Billy Budd with Terence Stamp as Budd is also great.

Outlaw13 said...

Ditto Floyd's pick of Caine Mutiny. Especially for the awesome scene at the end where everything you've seen gets tossed on its head.

Floyd R. Turbo said...

Paths of Glory... Douglas is the defense rather

K said...

Zucker's "American Carol". In that courtroom scene, ACLU zombies attack in court but the judge (the late Dennis Hopper) uses his bench shotgun to take them out. Now that's what I call Courtroom Drama.

Followed by Jimmy Stewart and "Anatomy of a Murder" and Witness for the Prosecution (Charles Laughton version)

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, My Cousin Vinny has a stronger courtroom scene that a lot of legal dramas... plus, it's hilarious!

"Two yutes..." LOL!

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I love Breaker Morant. That was one few DVD's on my wait list so that I kept checking to see if it had come out yet.

The only thing I wish were better was some of the sound quality, but it's amazingly well written, it's very dramatic and it's all around well done. It's the kind of film that can totally outrage you too.

I actually got the book Scapegoats of the Empire by Witten from a friends who know someone in Australia who knew some librarians and found an old copy and sold it to me -- couldn't find it otherwise. It's an excellent book too.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I agree about Woodward. He has compelling screen presence and she should have been used more by Hollywood.

I don't like A Time To Kill at all. I liked the book, but the film became a huge liberal cliche -- which the book was not.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, LOL! Disappointment is failure leaving the body... or something like that. ;P

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, You really should see both Presumed Innocent and Breaker Morant. No excuse, man.

AndrewPrice said...

The only thing by Capote that I enjoyed was In Cold Blood, but the movie version was kind of generic. The book gives you an interesting look at two psychotic, probably gay mass murders.

Have not seen The Lincoln Lawyer.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, LOL! Thanks for the plug! :)

Someday, my books will appear on the big screen. I'd love to see that. I think they would make excellent movies.

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, Good call! I can't believe I forgot about The Caine Mutiny!! The courtroom scene made that film, the way Bogart falls apart is just fantastic to watch.

Good call on Paths of Glory too. That was an excellent film.

AndrewPrice said...

Outlaw, That's an awesome moment. I still recall the first time I saw the film thinking, "All right, justice prevails and all is well... a happy ending," and then you get hit with the speech and suddenly everything flips around and you really feel like an ass. Excellent writing!

AndrewPrice said...

K, Anatomy of a Murder was excellent! That was a surprising film to me in many ways because it didn't fit the Stewart you normally see on film.

Tennessee Jed said...

Witness for the Prosecution is an excellent choice, one that holds an esteemed place in my video library. I chuckle at the request not to divulge the ending. Dietrich. Power, Laughton, and Wilder. Lots of star power there.

Anonymous said...

Ah, Scott! You beat me to "My Cousin Vinny!" Ah, well. I'll still sing its praises, though.

The script is tight. Almost everything that's said or happens foreshadows a plot point or part of the resolution in the courtroom. Literally, there is nothing wasted in the script. All the characters are memorable. And, honeslty, I have a hard time thinking of better-casted film. (Tommy DeVito as a lawyer, the Karate Kid under arrest, Herman Munster as the judge...)

And the courtroom scenes, what can you say?

"I understand." "No, I don't think you do."

"You were serious about that?!"

The opening statement of opening statements:
"Everything that guy said, is b***s***. Thank you."

And one of my family member's favorite movie lines of all time:

"EYE...DENTICLE!!!" (It's hard to write out while keeping Trotter's emphasis.)

Truly one of the underappreciated greats.

-Rustbelt

AndrewPrice said...

Rustbelt, I agree. My Cousin Vinny is truly and excellent piece of writing (and acting). There isn't a wasted line of dialog (or moment) in the film. And the comedic payoffs are excellent.

I love his opening statement. I also love the over-exaggeration by the prosecutor.

Tennessee Jed said...

Rustbelt - I honestly have never come across anybody who has seen Cousin Vinnie that didn't love it. But as mentioned earlier, people probably don't think of it quite as much as a court room film than as a comedy. And truth is, it really works really well as both.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Comedies often don't get seen as anything more than "comedies" even if their are otherwise quite good at doing something else. I think it's about expectations. When people think "comedy" they expect to laugh at the antics and they don't really think about the plot so much -- though, as we've discussed many times, the plot is what makes the comedy work.

Anonymous said...

Jed-

That is interesting. I just spent some time browsing "Vinny's" Wiki entry. According to the page, it turns out the film has been praised by lawyers for the accuracy of the film's depiction of court procedure. (One attorney compared it to, in his opinion, the unlikely scenario of "A Few Good Men.") The movie's director even has a law degree. And Justice Antonin Scalia uses it as an example of why defendents should be able to choose their own lawyers. So, it clearly works as both comedy and courtroom drama.

Andrew- on that note, I think this plays into statements you made concerning "Groundhog Day" and "Silver Streak"- that most great comedies could be easily remade into dramas.

-Rustbelt

Anonymous said...

Also Jed-

I don't think there's anything I can add about the lunacy of the real-life Jim Garrison. (ABC's "The Kennedy Assassination: Beyong Conspiracy," along with Gerald Posner and Vincent Bugliosi's books pretty much killed all credibility of conspiracy theories in my eyes.) But here's a site that I found a while ago that digs its teeth and claws into "JFK." It's called "the JFK 100," and groups the mistakes, misleadings, and lies of the film into 100 specific scenes and categories.

http://www.jfk-online.com/jfk100menu.html

Caution: the information is immense and can take hours to go through, but it's very informative and engaging.

-Rustbelt

AndrewPrice said...

Rustbelt, Absolutely. All the great comedies could easily have been strong dramas as well if you make a few tweaks. I think it's the story that actually keeps people watching and the humor is just a bonus.

I agree about the legal procedures in Vinny, they are surprisingly accurate for film. That's what I like about Presumed Innocent as well and what I loathe about most legal dramas. Most legal dramas are unbelievably fake, but not those two films.

shawn said...

Have to agree with Andrew- Presumed Innocent is a great film, one of Harrison Ford's best and Bonnie Bedelia is wonderful as the loyal/spurned wife.

Then ScottDS with A Few Good Men.

Jagged Edge is not to shabby and I also entertained by Disclosure.

T-Rav said...

Jed, I'll have to check that out. Haven't heard of it.

As for A Time To Kill, it is fairly liberal, but the rest of the movie is well-done enough that I don't really notice....that much.

Tennessee Jed said...

Shawn - I actually consider Presumed Innocent to be one of two roles that are Harrison's finest (Bladerunner being the other.) Bonnie Bedalia has a limited role, but her "confession" scene is one of the best ever. I don't know if you read it, but Turow finally did a sequel, titled "Innocent." While I am generally NOT a fan of sequels, this one is not without merit. In fact, just about all of Turow's novels are at the top of the lawyer/drama field. He just writes well and crafts realistic interesting stories.

Tennessee Jed said...

Rav - it's well before your time; even mine. This was a collaboration between David O. Selznick and Hitchcock. It's a B&W film. I am a huge fan of Gregory Peck, and found that while not "knock your sods off spectacular," it was nonetheless worthwhile.

Tennessee Jed said...

On the Time to Kill thing, I always had though it followed the book fairly closely, BUT admit it has been years, no decades since I read it, so I can't really comment with much authority.

Tennessee Jed said...

Rustbelt - I have the Posner book titled "Case Closed." The problem with both Garrison, and Posner for that matter, is like any good advocate at trial, (or political pundit,) they tend to omit any material that conflicts with their story. Someday, maybe the wraps will come off enough to know for certain.

Anonymous said...

Jed-

I've heard that complaint about Posner's book, and it's a valid one. In the introduction, I believe he claimed he kept it short so that he didn't have to write something as long as the Warren Commission Report itself. But the fact remains that in not refuting opposing evidence, he left himself open to criticism from conspiracy advocates.

(I guess the same can be said about the website I listed, since its stated function is to debunk the movie.)

Interestingly, in the prefeace to his book, Bugliosi attacks not only conspiracy advocates, but also Posner for doing just what you mentioned. That's likely why he devoted the latter half of his book, "Reclaiming History," to going over every possible conspiracy claim and debunking them. Unfortunately, this makes for a 1500-page book (I think, it's been a while since I looked at the whole thing), that weighs about 2 pounds. It can be tedious and slow-paced, but a real eye-opener.

As a side note, the first part of the book (just 400 pages) is being sold seperately as "Four Days in November." It's a minute-by-minute account of all the key individuals' actions from the start of 11/22/63 to the end of 11/25/63.

-Rustbelt

Anonymous said...

And now that I think about it, one of the things that really pushed me from the conspiracy camp to the "Oswald acted alone" camp was when I learned how much of "JFK" was based on lies.
When I first saw it, as a pre-teen, I believed everything in it! The pacing, the editing, the speeches, the "evidence," John Williams' powerful music...I went around thinking, "Don't people realize Oliver Stone cracked the case?"

However, as I grew older and wiser, I learned about the case itself and film techniques. I believe this was the movie that made me realize how flimmakers can use the medium to plant ideas in the public's mind. For me, the film went from powerful to manipulative and I took my wrath out on all conspiracy theories- JFK, Roswell, 9/11, Elvis...you name it. (I guess I saw the loons who believed "Farhenheit 9/11" was real as being conned by Moore the way I was conned by Stone.)

Now that I've calmed down, I try to take it all one at time, piece of evidence by piece of evidence. But I think it goes go to show how powerful- and, given the situation- how damaging skillfully filmed, politically-motivated films with an agenda can be.

-Rustbelt

AndrewPrice said...

Rustbelt, Films are a powerful medium for getting people to believe things that aren't true. That's why conservatives need to get back into the culture and promote their own ideas. Unfortunately, we've pretty much abandoned places like Hollywood to the left.

5minutes said...

Twelve Angry Men. The courtroom drama all happens outside of the courtroom, and we're forced to come up with what happened in the courtroom in our mind's eye based on the discussion in the jury room.

AndrewPrice said...

5 Minutes, A lot of people list that one as a favorite. I do like the device of not showing the crime and having the audience built it in their minds.

Dave Olson said...

"A Few Good Men" was an excellent courtroom drama, even if the oveall theme of the film (US Marines are fanatics and borderline psychos) is a piece of crap. The direction is top notch, the writing is excellent, and with the exception of Kiefer Southerland's accent, there's not a bad performance to be found.

JFK? Not so much. Oliver Stone's fever dream may be well acted and flawlessly edited, but to borrow a paraphrase, Stone can't handle the truth. For those who criticized Posner's book as being too one-sided, think of it as a courtroom rebuttal to JFK.

Although there's not much actual courtroom time, a movie that is in desperate need of a critical re-evaluation is "Bonfire of the Vanities". Yes, that's what I said. It is a scathing attack on limosuine liberals. And in light of the recent Treyvon Martin fiasco, it turns out to be just as hard on the alleged reverends, Jackson and Sharpton.

AndrewPrice said...

Dave, Stone was a talented filmmaker at one point, but I think he really lost his touch. I don't know if he went insane or just ran out of ideas or what, but he seems to keep trying to recapture the lightening in the bottle he got with "Wall Street" and "Platoon," but he can't do it.

Anonymous said...

Floyd R. Turbo beat me to it but My vote goes to Paths Of Glory.It works on so many levels - as a courtroom drama, an anti war film that doesn't rely on beating you over the head with hysterics to make it's point,as a character study and as a courtroom drama.
When I get around to making my 100 greatest films of all time list it'll be there.
I also enjoy A Few Good Men. Yeah,the final courtroom scene is a bit melodramatic but the difference between well done melodrama and sappy melodrama is that well done melodrama works. I watch it every time it comes on,and I still enjoy it just as much even now that I know how it comes out.
GypsyTyger

Anonymous said...

You know what just popped into my head? This is a little silly because this film certainly wasn't a courtroom drama but I won't be able to sleep if I don't get this off my chest. :)
The scene in Rocky Balboa where Balboa convinces the Pennsylvania Boxing Commission to give him a license.
As a man who has rooted for Rocky Balboa since his first appearance in 1976 when I was 11 years old that scene always makes me tear up.
Lest you think me addled, I understand that Rocky Balboa is in no way,shape or form a courtroom drama,but one of the purposes of forums like this is to get such things off one's chest. :)
GypsyTyger

AndrewPrice said...

GypsyTyger, I was surprised how solid "Paths of Glory" was. I knew nothing about it until I ran across it one night and I was really impressed.

As for Rocky, we don't really enforce rules here so feel free to mention it! :)

ScottDS said...

Dave -

Bonfire of the Vanities has been on my radar for years. I'm aware of its infamous reputation but it's one of those movies that just needs to be seen, for better or worse.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, If you ever watched Red Dwarf, then you would know that JFK was killed by JFK to protect his own legacy.

ScottDS said...

Jed, et al -

One day, I'd like to start reading up on the JFK assassination. The only problem is there are so many books - hundreds! - so who knows where to start? (Rustbelt's link seems interesting.) :-)

At the Sixth Floor Museum, near the end of the tour, there's a poster that displays every possible conspiracy theory and I kid you not, it'd take a good 30 minutes to take it all in!

By the way, speaking of JFK, it's not a courtroom drama but check out a movie called Executive Action, with Burt Lancaster. It's basically about a group of stereotypical "right-wingers" plotting the assassination along with the idea of using Oswald as a patsy.

Dare I say it, it'd never get made today.

ScottDS said...

Andrew -

Nope. Never saw Red Dwarf, though I know of it. Sounds like an ingenious plan! :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, It was pretty funny. They talked him into it.

Tennessee Jed said...

Scott - I remember "Executive Action," and you are right. Believe it or not, I would start with Bill O'Reilly's book since it is the most recent. I read killing Lincoln and it was excellent. Completely scholarly and no agenda.

Anonymous said...

Andrew,

That's dedication, how did you find out about it? I saw the movie at school when I was a kid, I thought I was going to be bored but was drawn into the movie and was pissed off at the injustice they faced. It was so well made that I read a few books about the situation (the very first non fantasy/sf book I'd ever read outside of school) and then I got even more pissed when even more details came out about it that they couldn't fit into the movie.

And just finding out more about Morant himself, very interesting man and the Bushveldt Carbineers the first modern special forces.

ScottDS,

If you get a chance to see Breaker Morant then take it.

Scott.

Anonymous said...

Oh and watch Red Dwarf, great show. It's very English but very well done for the budget which did improve over time. Some of the books they wrote were pretty dam good too.

And I do remember the JFK episode, it was well done.

Scott.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, It pissed me off a lot as well. Talk about an amazing injustice.

I found out about the situation from the movie. I saw it one night on the recommendation of a friend who was a JAG attorney at the time. He said it was an excellent film, so I watched it and was really impressed.

Then I looked into the origins of the story because I wanted to know more and I found that Barnes and Noble listed the book, but didn't sell it because it had been out of print for a long time. At the time, I was buying (cheap) first editions or replica first editions at Amazon's auction website and I tried to find this book, but couldn't. Purely by chance, I mentioned this to a friend who asked someone they knew in Australia if the book was available over there. They said it wasn't, but their library had a copy. So they asked if they could buy it and the library sold it. That's how it came to me. It cost about $100 all told between the purchase and the shipping.

It's a fascinating story about a real injustice.

As an aside, a few years back, the British government lifted their secrecy on the subject and supposedly were going to make the transcripts of the trial available to the public, but then they claimed they had no records of it. That was really annoying because I was hoping to find out more about it.

rlaWTX said...

ok - first thing that popped into mind was the courtroom scene from "My Favorite Wife" (Cary Grant & Irene Dunne). The next was from "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes".
Both are comedic and probably not what you had in mind... I will now read the 70 comments to verify that assumption! :)

rlaWTX said...

Ok - I got as far as Tyranmax's suggestion of My Cousin Vinnie! YAY - I'm not the only one circumventing the rules!

And I thought of a serious one - the oooooh so yummy Matthew McConaughey in A Time to Kill. I still get all teary with his summation and still feel that shock when he turns the jury on its head.

Anonymous said...

rlaWTX just jarred my memory with her Cary Grant reference. I've never seen My Favorite Wife but have any of you seen Penny Serenade? The scene where the court is about to take Grant's adopted daughter from him because he can't support her and he pleads his case is one of the all time tearjerkers.
GypsyTyger

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, We make rules so they can be broken around here! :) Excellent additions with Cary Grant!


GypsyTyger, I have no seen "Penny Serenade." I wonder how I missed it?

Anonymous said...

Andrew,

I bought "Shoot Straight You Bastards" (on a side note saying "Shoot straight you bastards, don't make a mess of it" to a firing squad has to be the best last words ever) which is a pretty good and fair telling, with out buying into the myths or romance of his life. But it was common knowledge that British and Canadian troops were not taking prisoners and as Witten said they were made scapegoats of the empire to cover up other killings and help bring in peace. Thats lucky you could get your hands on a copy and yes the transcripts were "lost", which is pretty convienent.

In the Australian Mini Series "Anzacs" there is a scene when a British officer mentions how the Australian troops were causing a lot of problems and how they may have to kill a few to set them straight. And the other one says that Australia no longer allows them to do that after that "unpleastness in South Africa" or something along those lines. I thought that was a good hat tip to the Breaker.

Scott.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I agree, those are the best last words ever!

It is pretty convenient that the transcript was "lost", wasn't it?

I never saw "Anzacs," but that does sound like a pretty good nod to Breaker. We had something similar in WWI, when our troops got to Europe, the Brits and French tried to use them as replacement soldiers in their ranks and the American general (Gen. "Black Jack" Pershing) had to fight to keep the Americans as an independent army.

Anonymous said...

Andrew,

The words "swept under the rug" come to mind when I think about the British actions. Like Lord Kitchener gave the order to scapegoat some colonials to placate the Boers, they put them through a kangaroo court and he made himself scarce during the execution and buried all the evidence.

During WWI the ANZACs fought under British leadership until May 1918 when they finally got to serve together under the leadership of one of their own General Monash. Actually during the battle of Hamel four companies of American troops fought under the leadership of General Monash and were lead to a great victory!

If you get a chance to see Anzacs do so, while it is very Australian 80's ocker humour (Paul Hogan is one of the stars). In parts its very touching and downright bleak, it has a high body count (which reflected reality). I've got it on VHS, I should see if I can get a DVD copy.

Scott.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I'll see if I can find it. I'm sure someone has it around her.

The words "swept under the rug" definitely come to mind.

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