Sergio Leone Web Board
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
October 24, 2017, 01:54:40 AM
Home Help Search Calendar Login Register
News:


+  Sergio Leone Web Board
|-+  Other/Miscellaneous
| |-+  Off-Topic Discussion (Moderators: cigar joe, moviesceleton, Dust Devil)
| | |-+  Witness to Murder (1954)
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
Pages: [1] Go Down Print
Author Topic: Witness to Murder (1954)  (Read 436 times)
drinkanddestroy
Global Moderator
Bounty Killer
*****
Online Online

Posts: 8316

trust a man who wears both a belt and suspenders?


View Profile
« on: August 28, 2014, 08:56:57 PM »

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0047679/

Witness to Murder (1954)


cast (courtesy of wikipedia)

    Barbara Stanwyck as Cheryl Draper
    George Sanders as Albert Richter
    Gary Merrill as Police Lt. Lawrence Mathews
    Jesse White as Police Sgt. Eddie Vincent
    Harry Shannon as Police Capt. Donnelly
    Claire Carleton as The Blonde
    Lewis Martin as Psychiatrist
    Dick Elliott as Apartment Manager
    Harry Tyler as Charlie
    Juanita Moore as Black Woman
    Joy Hallward as Fellow Worker
    Adeline De Walt Reynolds as The Old Lady
    Claude Akins as Police Officer
    Sam Edwards as Tommy - Counterman

- - - - - -

I give this a 5.5/10

Barbara Stanwyck sees George Sanders commit a murder, through the window across the street, reports it to the cops, but he hides the body before the cops can find it, so nobody believes her. She decides to play detective, to prove that a murder was indeed committed. So she tries to match her investigative wits against Sanders. So far so good.

But then, of course, she gets gaslighted. Every one says she is crazy (including the cop (Gary Merrill) called to investigate her story, who of course starts dating her). Even she begins to doubt herself. She gets a stint in a nuthouse. That gasligting stuff is annoying. And some of the dialogue is in the movie is not written very well. And the cop spends so much time saying in this whiny voice, "But how can you be sure?" UGHhhhhh

Anyway, she gets outta the nuthouse, and begins to match wits against Sanders again .... now the movie is getting good again.

But no, once again she is told she is dreaming and unable to distinguish fantasy from reality. And once again, I groan.

Then they awkwardly mix in other stuff - wait a minute, Sanders is a Nazi, and his murder of this whore is part of a goal of the violent ideology of Nazis taking over the world again!

This was so frustrating, going good bad good bad. As we discussed in the past, ratings are just the beginning of the conversation. Some movies that get this rating are just mediocre all along. This one goes good-annoying-good-annoying   Angry

The movie does have some nicely lit scenes with Sanders in darkness making him look truly scary, that is one very solid accomplishment. Also, Sanders is a guy I love to watch, he is the kinda guy I laugh every time he starts speaking (hell, I laugh just thinking of him, I just love him too much to forget he’s George Sanders and believe he is a Nazi - for me, it’s impossible for George Sanders to “disappear” into a Nazi role (ditto with Orson Welles in The Stranger), and besides, the Nazi stuff is thrown in so awkwardly for a moment, like, "we need to add a few minutes to a screenplay, so if we are gonna have a story about a murder that only two people know were committed - let's also throw in another minute about a nazi subplot, and a few minutes of gaslighting Stanwyck so she starts thinking she is crazy.

if they had simply stuck to Stanwyck matching wits with sanders, trying to prove he committed the murder as he tries to prove his innocence, it could have been a good movie.

BTW, IMO, Barbara Stanwyck has delivered some good performances, but (besides not being the tiniest bit attractive) she is absolutely NOT the kind of actress that always delivers a good performance. There are certain actors, e.g. Ingrid Bergman, Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, Henry Fonda, Edward G. Robinson, Robert Mitchum, et. al, that you know are always good - sometimes great, sometimes good, but can be relied on to never deliver anything less than a very solid performance, even when the role isn't a particularly great one. Stanwyck is absolutely not like that. Sure, she has delivered sme very good performances, but there are also movies, like this one, where she is no better than average; any one of 200 other actresses could have done as good a job as her. (When you combine that with the fact that she was about as unattractive as any woman who ever worked in Hollywood (no DJ, she is not any better-looking than Katherine Hepburn!) there's no way she should have had that level of superstar fame. (By all accounts I have read, she was a true professional at work, but that shouldn't be enough to make a superstar.)

« Last Edit: October 20, 2017, 05:38:24 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

There are three types of people in the world, my friend: those who can add, and those who can't.
XhcnoirX
Gunslinger
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 198


View Profile WWW
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2017, 04:28:41 AM »

Re-watched this last night, this time I watched the Kino Lorber blu-ray. The transfer is mostly good but far from stellar. It does bring out the effectiveness of John Alton's cinematography tho, I had completely forgotten how gorgeous this movie looks at times, it's got way more of a 40s noir look to it than I remembered.

And George Sanders is awesome. Don't get me wrong, he certainly wasn't the greatest actor ever, but he was always so much fun to watch, especially in his more villainous roles like this one. His Nazi speech is pure schlock, but Sanders more than gets away with it.

There's nothing wrong with Stanwyck's performance here IMHO... Granted, her character's badly written, but Stanwyck is good, and I feel she plays the plain jane working woman character who's in her late 30s/early 40s quite well.

Overall, I think the real issue with this movie is the script, not just when it comes to Stanwyck's character, it's pretty lazy at times, frustratingly so. Overall this movie is quite ridiculous, but it's a fun ride, as long as you don't think too hard about the plot/events. 7/10

Logged

'I feel all dead inside. I'm backed up in a dark corner and I don't know who's hitting me.' - The Dark Corner (1946)
Jessica Rabbit
Gunslinger
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 332


View Profile
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2017, 08:22:00 AM »

Quote
And George Sanders is awesome. Don't get me wrong, he certainly wasn't the greatest actor ever, but he was always so much fun to watch, especially in his more villainous roles like this one. His Nazi speech is pure schlock, but Sanders more than gets away with it.

I couldn't agree more. I always found him more than believable in his roles, no matter if he played a Scotland Yard man, The Saint or a Nazi. He was especially good in Man Hunt where his Nazi is less schlocky. And he was always George Sanders.

As for Witness to Murder, it's an OK programmer. By the 50s, Stanwyck's movie career was mostly over, she hung on in a lot of B movies, some better some mediocre. Crime of Passion and Forty Guns are a lot better. Nothing could stop Babs.

Logged

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."
kjrwe
Gunslinger
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 186


View Profile
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2017, 12:10:22 AM »

The first time I saw it, I absolutely loved it. Great cast, interesting storyline....

The second time I saw it, I was disappointed. Stanwyck and Sanders just seemed to be so tired and unmotivated.

Logged
XhcnoirX
Gunslinger
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 198


View Profile WWW
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2017, 07:04:11 AM »

I couldn't agree more. I always found him more than believable in his roles, no matter if he played a Scotland Yard man, The Saint or a Nazi. He was especially good in Man Hunt where his Nazi is less schlocky. And he was always George Sanders.

As for Witness to Murder, it's an OK programmer. By the 50s, Stanwyck's movie career was mostly over, she hung on in a lot of B movies, some better some mediocre. Crime of Passion and Forty Guns are a lot better. Nothing could stop Babs.

I'm not a fan of Crime of Passion myself, but I still need to see Forty Guns. Keep reading good things about it. Thanks for the reminder!

Logged

'I feel all dead inside. I'm backed up in a dark corner and I don't know who's hitting me.' - The Dark Corner (1946)
Pages: [1] Go Up Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  



Visit FISTFUL-OF-LEONE.COM

Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
Page created in 0.038 seconds with 18 queries.