Film: 5 Sep 1956

Beyond a reasonable doubt

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt is a 1956 film noir directed by Fritz Lang and written by Douglas Morrow. The film, was the last American film directed by Lang.

A newspaper publisher, wanting to prove a point about the insufficiency of circumstantial evidence, talks his possible son-in-law Tom Garrett (Dana Andrews) into a hoax in an attempt to expose the alleged ineptitude of the city's hard-line district attorney. The plan is to have Tom plant clues leading to his arrest for killing a female nightclub dancer. Once Tom is found guilty, he is to reveal the setup and humiliate the DA.
Tom agrees to the plan, not knowing that unforeseen events will put such a snag in the scheme that he ends up in danger of being executed. A friend holding back evidence that will clear Tom at his trial dies in an accident before he can testify.

Dennis L. White describes Beyond a Reasonable Doubt as having "considerable impact, due not so much to visual style, as to the narrative structure and mood and to the expertly devised plot, in which the turnabout is both surprising and convincing.

Cast:

  • Dana Andrews: Tom Garrett
  • Joan Fontain: Susan Spencer
  • Sidney Blackmer: Austin Spencer
  • Arthur Franz: Bob Hale
  • Philip Bourneuf: DA Roy Thompson
  • Ed Binns: Lt. Kennedy
  • Shepperd Strudwick: Jonathan Wilson
  • Robin Raymond: Terry Larue
  • Barbara Nichols: Dolly Moore
  • William F. Leicester: Charlie Miller (as William Leicester)
  • Dan Seymour: Greco
  • Rusty Lane: Judge
  • Joyce Taylor : Joan Williams
  • Carleton Young: Allan Kirk
  • Trudy Wroe: Hatcheck girl
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