Have you seen Anatomy of a Murder? Most likely, you have not. It is a James Stewart movie that is not a Hitchcock film. What intrigued me about this movie was the subject matter: a man accused of killing his wife’s alleged rapist. This film was made in 1959 and I was interested in how they would portray this and what the viewpoint surrounding it would be. James Stewart’s father hated this movie, called it a “dirty picture,” and took out a full page ad in a newspaper asking people not to go see the movie.
James Stewart plays a lawyer asked to defend the man accused of killing his wife’s alleged rapist. Even though he asks both parties to disclose everything to him, he along with the audience learn the real details of their life and the events in question. There aren’t many movies that keep me guessing, and this was one of them. I wasn’t sure of anyone or anything until the end of the film. The wife character was flirtatious and seemed loose, and the question was whether she was battered and sexually assaulted or if it was consensual and she is covering for her husband beating her and killing her lover.
I’m not going to tell you what happens or who was lying or if the accused gets away with murder, literally; but I will tell you that this is a film worth watching. It is interesting to see the other side of legal defense – defending the accused.
You guys. I hit a wall. I totally could NOT come up with anything today. Nothin’. Nada. Zip. So I fudged a little. I’m using a scene that I wrote years ago for a contest. I wasn’t even a finalist in it, but I tried!
The genre is Thriller.
Hopefully, I’ll get my creative juices going for tomorrow’s scene.
I am not a Tom Cruise fan. Not even a little bit. But I thought Minority Report was really interesting.
One of my favorite parts of this 30 Days, 30 Movies series is learning the backstory about the scripts and how the movies are made. This script was originally a Total Recall sequel. It was set on Mars and the Pre-Cogs were mutated humans. The project was shelved. The writers got rid of all the Total Recall plot points and started over. Another writer was added to the project, and they made the final script. Three years before production on this film, Steven Spielberg got sixteen future experts to think about what the world would look like and be like in 2054 (This is definitely one of the things that, in my mind, makes him a legend. Foresight).
This script was also based on a short story about the same subject. In the short story, the Tom Cruise character decides not to kill the victim. Then the victim says that he is going to end the Pre Crime bureau because it does not work. The Tom Cruise character then kills the victim to prove the program works. He puts the system he believes in before his well being. It’s an interesting take, but I think the movie’s ending works better.
Unfortunately, this movie is much too long. It is actually an example of a movie that would have been better had it been shorter in Blake Snyder’s book Save the Cat! (I know it’s hard to believe, but I have read other books. I just don’t mention them on the blog).
Favorite Line: My mother gave them to me.
Favorite Character: Agatha
Favorite Scene: When all the ads call Anderton by a Japanese name. It cracks me up. And it also kinda scares me about the future a little.
I’m not really going to talk about how great this movie is or how well it did at the box office or how everyone was talking about the ending of this movie. I want to talk about time. Eight years, in fact.
Christopher Nolan pitched the idea for this script without having written it. He was given the green light and told to go ahead with the movie. He walked away thinking that he would write the script in a couple months. He wrote this script over a period of eight years. Of course, he had other obligations during that time. He had other jobs, too. But he worked on it consistently and it became the amazing movie we now see.
I think sometimes too much emphasis is put on deadlines and time constraints. Should you write as much as you can as often as you can? Yes. Do you have to write your masterpiece in a day? No. It doesn’t matter if it takes you two days or twenty years. All that matters is that you do your best and it gets done.
Favorite Line: An idea is like a virus, resiliant, highly contajous and the smallest seed of an idea can grow. It can grow to define or destroy you.
Favorite Character: Eames
Favorite Scene: When there’s a mid air fight and the hallway keeps moving around them.
In my 30 Days, 30 Movies exercise, I had to have an Alfred Hitchcock day. Alfred Hitchcock is a legendary director and I think more people know his name than have seen his movies. He will always be the king of suspense because he understood the human mind and what makes us frightened:
There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.
And he also understood what made a good movie:
A good film is when the price of the dinner, the theatre admission, and the babysitter were worth it.
Dial M for Murder was written by the same person who wrote the successful stage play, which explains why this movie is heavy in dialogue. Great dialogue makes for a great play. Dial M for Murder is an exceptional thriller because the villian is so evil and cunning. He manipulates everyone and everything and has no regard for anyone other than himself. When he speaks about spending hours plotting ways to kill his wife, he says it as though he had been thinking about playing golf. He is a pathological liar with no remorse. We, the audience, want to see him get caught, and every time he slips out of trouble we tense up for fear that he will never be caught.
Something about this movie that you may not know: it was filmed and premiered in 3D. I find that very odd considering most of the movie’s action takes place in an apartment, and most of that action consists of sitting or standing around talking. Would you have wanted to see this movie in 3D? Is there a movie that you saw in 3D that you couldn’t image watching regularly?
Favorite Line: I think I’m going to have that breakdown now.
Favorite Character: Chief Inspector Hubbard
Favorite Scene: The final scene, I can’t tell you in case you haven’t seen it