The Criterion Collection released another classic James Stewart movie on to blu-ray back in March. That means it time for my Anatomy of a Murder blu-ray review. The 1959 crime drama has undergone a brand new digital restoration. Being a fan of James Stewart I of course had to take a look. Have their done this classic courtroom drama justice? Let’s find out.
- Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
- Genre: Crime, Drama
- Directed by Otto Preminger
- UK Rating 12
- Discs: 1
- Released By Criterion Collection
- Blu-ray Released: 16 March 2020
When US Army Lieutenant Frederick Manion is arrested for the murder of innkeeper Barney Quill it seems an open and shut case. Manion admits to killing Quill, however the circumstances leading up to the murder may prove whether he is found guilty or not guilty.
Style / Direction
The film’s directed by Otto Preminger whilst Sam Leavitt took care of the cinematography. Courtroom dramas largely fall into two categories in my opinion. They are either tense gripping affairs or overly long and boring. Fortunately Anatomy of a Murder, although long at 161 minutes, falls into the former.
Music / Audio Effects
The music is provided by Duke Ellington which should really speak for itself. In fact I guess many people went to watch this film just for his contributions to the score.
Acting / Characters
James Stewart excels in the role of lawyer Paul Biegler. In fact its Stewarts performance that really keeps the viewer invested in the story. He makes what could become a heavy courtroom drama both entertaining and compelling.
Lee Remick also impresses showing several sides to her personality leaving you unsure to her true self.
- James Stewart as Paul Biegler
- Lee Remick as Laura Manion
- Ben Gazzara as Lt. Frederick Manion
- Arthur O’Connell as Parnell McCarthy
- Eve Arden as Maida Rutledge
- Kathryn Grant as Mary Pilant
- George C. Scott as Claude Dancer
Conclusion: Anatomy of a Murder (1959) Film Review
Anatomy of a Murder is a brilliantly made and well acted courtroom drama that see’s James Stewart excel as a small town lawyer. Unlike many other films of this type it’s both absorbing and compelling in equal measure.
Don’t let the 2 hours 40 minutes running time put you off, the film simply zooms by. That’s tells you the film is extremely well made and acted. I cannot recommend Anatomy of a Murder enough, give it look I’m sure you won’t regret it.
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Conclusion: Anatomy of a Murder Blu-ray Review
The film has undergone a new digital restoration and looks fabulous. I mean the image is literally clear of any annoying marks or speckles. It’s a black and white film that now has perfect picture quality. To be fair Criterion Collection releases tend to be excellent releases so it should come as no surprise but nevertheless they should still be commended for such a great release.
This new bluray release is packed full of interesting extras. There’s an interesting look into Duke Ellington’s musical contribution. Meanwhile the film’s Saul Bass designed opening titles is also discussed.
Other extras included are interviews, newsreel footage and the film’s theatrical trailer.
I found all of the extras interesting and worth of a look. So I highly recommend picking up this Criterion Collection release of Anatomy of a Murder (1959) it’s a perfect blu-ray release.
- Foster Hirsch – Interview (30 mins)
- Otto Preminger – Interview (11 mins)
- Critic Gary Giddins discusses Duke Ellington (22 mins)
- Saul Bass (15 mins)
- Newsreel Footage (5 mins)
- Anatomy of “Anatomy” (30 mins)
- Theatrical Trailer
On to my movie rating for Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
- Movie Rating: MUST SEE
- Blu-ray Picture: EXCELLENT
- Extras: EXCELLENT
Amazon UK Links
Anatomy of a Murder (1959) is available now on blu-ray.
For those of you yet to see the film I’ll leave you with a little taster…
Clip may not representative of the blu-ray version
That concludes my Anatomy of a Murder blu-ray review, I’m aiming to review more classic films soon. What’s next? Check back soon…
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Summary: Anatomy of a Murder (1959) Blu-ray Review
Movie title: Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
Duration: 161 mins
Director(s): Otto Preminger
Actor(s): James Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara, Arthur O'Connell, Eve Arden, Kathryn Grant, George C. Scott
Genre: Crime, Drama
- Movie Rating
- Blu-ray Picture Rating
James Stewart excels as a small town lawyer
- Compelling Story
- James Stewart & Lee Remick
- New Digital Restoration
- Interesting Extras