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Lawyers & the Legal Process in Film

Twelve Angry Men(TV, 1954)

Directed by Franklin Schaffner. Cast: Robert Cummings, Edward Arnold, John Beal, Walter Abel, Bart Burns, Franchot Tone. Focuses on a jury's deliberations in a capital murder case. What begins as an open and shut case of murder soon becomes a mini-drama of each of the jurors' prejudices and preconceptions about the trial, the accused, and each other. Originally broadcast on the television series Studio One on September 20, 1954. 60 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Veer-Zaara (India, 2004)

Directed by Ashutosh Gowariker. Cast: Shahrukh Khan, Gayatri Joshi, Kishori Ballal. Squadron Leader Veer Pratap Singh is a rescue pilot with the Indian Air Force. One day, on duty, he comes across Zaara, a girl from Pakistan who is stranded in India. Veer saves her life... and his life is never the same again. Twenty-two years later, Saamiya Siddiqui, a Pakistani lawyer on her first case, finds herself face-to-face with an ageing Veer Pratap Singh. He has languished in a Pakistan jail cell for 22 years and has not spoken to anyone all these years - and no one knows why.

Wall Street Cowboy(1939)

Directed by Joseph Kane. Cast: Roy Rogers, George (Gabby) Hayes, Raymond Hatton, Pierre Watkin. Roy and Gabby travel to the Big City and tangle with courtroom lawyers when a crooked cartel of stock marketeers hope to swindle Rogers out of his ranch. It seems that his property is rich with the valuable mineral molybdenum, which the villains want to use for their steel-mining activities. 54 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

War of the Roses (1989)

Directed by Danny DeVito. Cast: Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito, G.D. Spradlin. A once happy marriage disintegrates into an escalating war as the couple, having decided to divorce, fight over the division of their possessions. It becomes a deliriously mean-spirited free-for-all in which nothing --- not the pets, not the cars and certainly not themselves -- is sacred. 116 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Within the Law (1926)

Directed by Frank Lloyd. Cast: Norma Talmadge, Jack Mulhall, Joseph Kilgour, Helen Ferguson, Eileen Percy, Lew Cody.Follows a shopgirl who is unjustly accused of stealing and then sent to jail. She plots revenge against her former employer, using 'rich men's' legal tricks, yet staying 'within the law.' 105 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

Directed by Billy Wilder. Cast: Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton, Elsa Lanchester, John Williams. A gruff British lawyer returns from a long convalescence to take on a homicide case--a man accused of murdering his wealthy woman friend in order to secure his inheritance. The defendant's mysterious wife stuns the courtroom by giving damaging testimony against her husband. 116 min. ; Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Writing for Television: The Legal Genre.

University Satellite Seminar Series. Television, the Creative Process; Fall, 1996. New York, NY: Museum of Television and Radio. Panel: Jackson Gills (Perry Mason), Dean Hargrove (Matlock), Abby Mann (Judgment at Nuremberg), David E. Kelley (Picket Fences, The Practice), William Finkelstein (L.A. Law), Judith Paige Mitchell (The Client), Dick Wolf (Law & Order). One in a series of satellite seminars which investigate how prime-time television is conceptualized and created.

Yield to the Night (aka Blonde Sinner) (UK, 1956)

Directed by J. Lee Thompson. Cast: Diana Dors, Yvonne Mitchell, Michael Craig, Geoffrey Keen, Athene Seyler. A young woman who has been abused and taken advantage of by all the men in her life, finally finds a man she believes truly loves her, but she snaps when she finds out that he, too, is cheating on her, and she kills her boyfriend's mistress. Condemned to death for her crime, she awaits her fate at the hands of the legal system. Produced as an impassioned cry against the death penalty at a time when it was the subject of national debate in Britain. Based on the book by Joan Henry.

You Only Live Once(1937)

Directed by Fritz Lang. Cast: Sylvia Sidney, Henry Fonda, Barton MacLane, William Gargan, Jean Dixon, Jerome Cowan, Margaret Hamilton. "Joan Graham is the efficient secretary of a public defender Stephen Whitney and is in love of the smalltime criminal Eddie Taylor. Her boss and friend Stephen helps Eddie to leave the prison on probation, Eddie promises to have a straight life and immediately get married with Joan. He finds a job as truck driver, but is unfairly fired on his first day. While trying to find another job, there is a heist in a bank with six victims and Eddie is accused.

Young Mr. Lincoln(1939)

Directed by John Ford. Cast: Henry Fonda, Alice Brady, Marjorie Weaver, Arleen Whelan. Ten formative years in the life of one of America's greatest statesmen are brought vividly to the screen by Henry Fonda in this fictionalized biography of Abraham Lincoln's early years as a lawyer in Springfield, Ill. 137 min. ; Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database
Awards & HonorsNational Film Registry Selection
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