It has that usual problem of remakes-of-classics: It’s a fine film on its own, but it is dwarfed by the original.
There are a lot of variants on this movie as well, and there’s one I may like even better than the original: The Russian movie 12. It goes through the whole idea of the original, though very russified, and then throws a serious curve at the end–which is also very, very Russian.
Four stars. Check it out!
I’m surprised no one has brought up Cop Rock yet.
I didn’t say it was good, but technically, it’s a courtroom drama!
Oh dear lord. Now I’ve seen EVERYTHING!
What I always found funny about Perry Mason was the notion that apparently just any one – from wealthy socialite to struggling waitress – could retain the services of L.A.'s most illustrious defense attorney. If all those scenes where Perry and Della visit the scene of the crime or talk with various suspects/witnesses were billable hours, you or I would be broke before the station identification.
And let’s not even think about, “Okay, Paul Drake had 2 of his operatives working 24 hours a day on your case for xx days, that comes out to . . .”
There’s a reason why they never show the scene of Mason presenting his bill to the client after winning their case.
Television is a slick efficient operation. The presenting of the bill would enthrall beneath the commercials. We try adding reality to something completely concocted. We’re there to watch an impossible scenario unfold not be faced with our own lives. In truth, we can’t afford Perry Mason. It’s why we watch.
I always found it odd that Hitchcock wasn’t so hot with the courtroom drama (The Paradine Case is one of his weakest IMHO). Along with his “man on the run” movies, he was also good in delivering the intensity and drama with movies set in confined spaces… Rear Window, Lifeboat, Rope… but the courtroom, not so much.
Anyhoo - One of my favorites is Billy Wilder’s Witness for the Prosecution - superb cast all around - Charles Laughton was pitch perfect and he and Elsa Lanchester were great fun.
@JakeGittes. Hitchcock prefers his piece of cake to a slice of life. Like he repeatedly stated about his movies and I paraphrase, “Why don’t you go to the cops? Because it’s dull.” Hitchcock’s cinema wasn’t one to endure process or bureaucracy. He preferred secret agents, wrong men on the lamb, and socialpaths in their environment. A court hearing is not his bag of chips and outside of The Paradine Case (1947), I Confess (1953), The Wrong Man (1956), and a couple brief scenes in Dial M For Murder (1954) and Frenzy (1972) he skips it altogether.
Witness for the Prosecution (1957)? An All-Star Game of a courtroom thriller. Charles Laughton, Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, Elsa Lanchester, John Williams, Una O’Connor. Decadent debonair theater served up as legal steak for the chewing. Even the A1 is included in this big beefy hunk of vintage Hollywood broiled by a master. The fireworks, monlogues, duplicity, and surprises surpass your expectations and this is superb entertainment.
Better Call Saul is great but one of the ideas that it only partially stuck to was to generally keep the main drama out of the courtroom. After all, that’s where a lot of lawyering happen. But when it goes in, it is usually great.
But it’s not all fun and games… And here’s a great one with a big spoiler if you haven’t seen the series yet (note, if you like the Caine Mutiny…)
Having not seen Breaking Bad, is it advisable to watch this without seeing the other?
Better Call Saul is a prequel to Breaking Bad and only focuses on one character from Breaking Bad. You don’t need to watch Breaking Bad to understand what’s going on.
Thank you. I heard it was a prequel. There were differing frames of mind on that question. Hence why I asked.
Yeah, there are a TON of Easter eggs and some of the reveals have more impact but you won’t be lost at all. I think it’s the better show. Breaking Bad is very good but it’s a little more tense and chaotic and a bit less complex while Saul is about the murkiness of morality and law and how it really isn’t black and white. Not in a superficial way; often characters we hate have good advice and observations but it’s so tainted, no wonder they are rejected.
It’s also a show that organically became feminist, taking what could have been the “voice of conscience” woman and makes her a much more nuanced and complex characters.