By Corey Quinto
Based on the short story by Agatha Christie, this 1957 courtroom classic sees Sir Wilfrid Robarts (Charles Laughton) a master barrister who must defend Leonard Vole (Tyrone Power) after he is convicted of murdering an elderly woman. When Wilfrid discovers that Leonard’s wife Christine (Marlene Dietrich) is testifying for the Prosecution and not the attorney, it becomes a case unlike any other. Legendary director Billy Wilder blends elements of film noir, a genre he is very well-known for, and combines it perfectly in a courtroom drama to make the movie an instant classic. Witness for the Prosecution stands the test of time as one of the best courtroom dramas thanks to its fantastic script, marvelous direction from Billy Wilder, and a great performance from actor Charles Laughton.
One bit of trivia that was found in the research was that the film creators stationed guards all over the soundstages on the set because producer Arthur Hornblow, Jr. had to get the royal family to come and sign a document stating that no one could ruin the ending of the film before it was released.
Another interesting piece of information is that Witness for the Prosecution got nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars and it went up against another movie that is also considered one of the best courtroom film ever 12 Angry Men, unfortunately both films lost Best Picture to The Bridge on the River Kwai.
Witness for the Prosecution received a perfect score of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, making it one of the few movies to get that particular high score rating from the website. The movie went on the receive six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director for Billy Wilder, Best Actor for Charles Laughton, and Supporting Actress for Elsa Lanchester, and is placed at number six on the AFI’s Top ten Courtroom Dramas of all time.