EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG (director: Stanley Kramer; screenwriter: Abby Mann; cinematographer: Ernest Laszlo; editor: Frederic Knudtson; music: Ernest Gold; cast: Spencer Tracy (Judge Dan Haywood), Burt Lancaster (Ernst Janning), Richard Widmark (Col. Tad Lawson), Marlene Dietrich (Mme. Bertholt), Maximilian Schell (Hans Rolfe), Judy Garland (Irene Hoffman), Montgomery Clift (Rudolph Petersen), William Shatner (Capt. Harrison Byers), Werner Klemperer (Emil Hahn), Ray Teal (Judge Curtiss Ives), Alan Baxter (General Merrin), Ed Binns (Senator Burkett); Runtime: 186; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Stanley Kramer; MGM; 1961)|
fictionalized intense courtroom drama, which at times was engrossing."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Kramer directs with
conviction the trial of four judges accused of knowingly supporting
Hitler's inhuman mandates against humanity. But it's a long slog and
heavy-going (not that it was bad and wasn't essential viewing, but that
it went on for too long and lost some of its entertainment value).
Nuremberg is the city where
the Nazis held huge rallies, making the
atmosphere of the bombed-out city eerie for the trial as it brings back
such unpleasant memories. It's fervently written by Abby
Mann (who originally wrote and produced it), and features an all-star
The elderly Dan Haywood (Spencer Tracy), a competent
and sensitive American
recently defeated for reelection in Maine, is chosen as judge after
several other candidates refuse the opportunity because the big shot
Nazis are no longer on trial. The trial begins with the
attorney Col. Tad Lawson (Richard Widmark) making an
emotion-packed opening statement calling for the harshest punishment. The defense
lawyer, Hans Rolfe (Maximilian
passionately argues that by charging
these men as guilty because they upheld the laws of their
country, would be like saying all of Germany must be tried.
Judge Haywood oversees the trials
of the four German judges -- most notable are Dr. Ernst Janning (Burt
Lancaster) and Emil Hahn (Werner Klemperer) -- accused of willingly
sentencing innocent men to death in collusion with the Nazis.
It also features fine supporting performances by Marlene Dietrich as the aristocratic widow of a German general executed previously for war crimes, Judy Garland as someone accused in the Third Reich of polluting the Master Race by intermingling with a Jew, and Montgomery Clift as a victim of a Nazi sterilization program. Judgment at Nuremberg was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, with Maximilian Schell and Abby Mann winning Oscars for Best Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay.
REVIEWED ON 4/14/2010 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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