ANATOMY OF A MURDER
1959, Sony Repertory, 160 min, USA, Dir: Otto Preminger

The finest courtroom drama ever made, a masterpiece of ambiguity in which the audience is the ultimate juror. James Stewart (in what is arguably his richest, certainly his most ambivalent performance) is a small-town lawyer who defends an arrogant soldier (Ben Gazzara) for the murder of his sexy wife’s supposed rapist. The characters often seem to behave inappropriately, in the process blurring the dividing line between guilt and innocence. Filmed on location in upper Michigan, in the actual locations where the real-life murder and trial took place. Superb performances from Eve Arden as Stewart’s rock-solid gal Friday, Arthur O’Connell as an alcoholic attorney, George C. Scott as a prosecutor who seems as aware as Stewart that the courtroom is a stage and that victory belongs to the best actor, and McCarthy silencer, real-life lawyer and non-actor Joseph N. Welch as a droll judge. Enhanced by a jazz score from Duke Ellington, who makes a surprise cameo appearance performing at the neighborhood juke joint.


BABY, THE RAIN MUST FALL
1965, Sony Repertory, 100 min, USA, Dir: Robert Mulligan

The TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD team of director Robert Mulligan, producer Alan Pakula and writer Horton Foote reunite for this underrated drama set in rural Texas. In a role that plays as if it hit close to home, Steve McQueen is a troubled singer (whose band includes Glen Campbell) recently released from prison. If only for their daughter’s sake, wife Lee Remick hopes to keep him on the straight and narrow - but deputy sheriff Don Murray is there just in case she can’t.


THE OMEN
1976, 20th Century Fox, 111 min, USA, Dir: Richard Donner

Director Richard Donner's breakthrough film was the best of the inevitable demonic possession thrillers that flooded theaters in the wake of THE EXORCIST's success. A riveting blend of studio respectability (with a classy cast that includes Gregory Peck and Lee Remick) and exploitation gusto (in the form of some of the most creative death scenes this side of Argento), this story of a couple's discovery that their cute little boy is the Antichrist still has the power to shock. An escapist roller-coaster ride with a very dark edge, this is one of the most unabashedly entertaining films of the 1970s. Award-winning cinematography by Gilbert Taylor (STAR WARS) and an Oscar-winning score by Jerry Goldsmith. Also features David Warner and “Dr. Who's” Patrick Troughton.


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