Witness for the Prosecution, Happy Anniversary! National release on February 6th, 1958.


Witness for the Prosecution premiered nationally on February 6, 1958; this classic film had World Premiere in Los Angeles, in December of 1957, therefore qualifying for the 1958 Academy Awards.

Umm, umm, good! Witness for the Prosecution is delightful like a Shepherd’s Pie, an all-in-one-meal, all of the staples needed for your diet plus some gravy to make it taste just that much better, add a little cheese on top of the mashed potatoes and you have the perfect recipe; welcome to what Witness is: bite-full after bite-full of wonderful comfort-food for the emotions and eyes.

This film, based on Agatha Christie’s play of the same name, is quite a dish, made up of nearly every genre and it is stronger for it, not weakened as some films are which have tried too many ingredients in the pan. Witness for the Prosecution blends perfectly differing elements to finish with what is without a doubt a great-time at the movies. Director Billy Wilder mixes here his flare for comedy and drama, adding in romance, lust, devotion to a fault and marvelous bantering, all of these coming to together to form a film which keeps us coming back for more, just like any good comfort-food does.

Witness was nominated for 6 Academy Awards for: Best Picture, Charles Laughton for Best Actor, Elsa Lanchester for Best Supporting Actress, Billy Wilder for Best Director and Daniel Mandell for Film Editing. As well Elsa Lanchester won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress and Witness was nominated for Best Motion Picture by the Edgar Allan Poe Awards. Laughton and Lanchester became the second married couple (Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne for The Guardsman, 1931, were the first) to be nominated for Oscars for the same film. Hopes dashed and one would assume embarrassed, Marlene Dietrich had predicted that she would be nominated for an Academy Award for her performance as Christine in Witness for the Prosecution, and of course was not, she went so far as to include her prognostication in her Las Vegas show.

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By C. S. Williams


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