CALL NORTHSIDE 777
1948, 20th Century Fox, 111 min, USA, Dir: Henry Hathaway

In the late 1940s, hardhitting action director Hathaway was the pioneer of a new breed of startlingly neo-realistic, noirish crime film. Pictures like HOUSE ON 92nd STREET and KISS OF DEATH helped to cement his reputation as a genre master, and there's no better example of his straight-from-the-headlines style than in this superior suspenser, with James Stewart trying to prove that convicted killer Richard Conte is innocent. With Lee J. Cobb, Helen Walker.


THE GLENN MILLER STORY
1954, Universal, 115 min, Dir: Anthony Mann

James Stewart stars in this involving biopic of the influential swing band leader, who rose to fame with such hits as “Moonlight Serenade” before joining the Army Air Force Band and perishing in a plane crash during WWII. An Oscar winner for Best Sound (and a nominee for Best Screenplay and Score), the film features June Allyson as Miller’s supportive wife, with cameos from such musical luminaries as Louis Armstrong and Gene Krupa.


ANATOMY OF A MURDER
1959, Sony Repertory, 160 min, USA, Dir: Otto Preminger

The finest courtroom drama ever made, a masterpiece of ambiguity in which the audience is the ultimate juror. James Stewart (in what is arguably his richest, certainly his most ambivalent performance) is a small-town lawyer who defends an arrogant soldier (Ben Gazzara) for the murder of his sexy wife’s supposed rapist. The characters often seem to behave inappropriately, in the process blurring the dividing line between guilt and innocence. Filmed on location in upper Michigan, in the actual locations where the real-life murder and trial took place. Superb performances from Eve Arden as Stewart’s rock-solid gal Friday, Arthur O’Connell as an alcoholic attorney, George C. Scott as a prosecutor who seems as aware as Stewart that the courtroom is a stage and that victory belongs to the best actor, and McCarthy silencer, real-life lawyer and non-actor Joseph N. Welch as a droll judge. Enhanced by a jazz score from Duke Ellington, who makes a surprise cameo appearance performing at the neighborhood juke joint.


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