A 1957 film starring Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton and Tyrone Power, Witness for the Prosecution is a murder mystery based on an Agatha Christie short story and play. It’s also a little gem of easily overlooked enjoyable film making from the distant past.
The film ends with an appeal to audiences not to give away the plot, which nicely mixes initially a plausible, if at times deliberately comic, sequence of events. There are multiple suspects but the plot mostly avoids the pile up of bodies and coincidences which are at the heart of most Agatha Christie plots.
It’s only right at the end that you get the sudden dramatic and implausible switchbacks, and even then they are done so tightly and at such pace that it makes for a very enjoyable movie all round. Along with a slightly odd interlude of a flashback scene with a huge cast and budget which seems to be there mainly to show off Marlene Dietrich’s famous legs.
Here’s the official trailer for the movie at the time of its original release:
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