An Act of Murder

1948

Crime / Drama / Film-Noir

45
IMDb Rating 7 10 523

Synopsis


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August 12, 2020

Director

Cast

Edmond O'Brien as Capt. Glover - HMCS Cayuga
Fredric March as Judge Calvin Cooke
John McIntire as Sergeant Henessey
Ray Teal as Brig. Gen. W.W. Timmons
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
836.41 MB
1280*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
91 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.52 GB
1920×1080
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
91 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Hup234! 9 / 10 / 10

Not for hypochondriacs!

This film's relentless plotline marches straight-ahead forward as you squirm, fascinated, in your chair. The story is the familiar one about the onset of terminal illness within a solid American family of the 1940s. Never mind that it delves into MGM-style sermonizing; the great real-life husband/wife team of Fredric March and Florence Eldridge portray the couple whose once-comfortable lives are now being separated by an unstoppable and fast-advancing disease. The helpless husband, the uncomplaining wife, and their final attempt to recapture happier days with a doomed weekend outing is the stuff of deep film drama indeed. The sense of onrushing darkness is tangible through the film-noir camera shadings of Hal Mohr (Captain Blood, Phantom of the Opera [1943], The Climax), and Daniele Amfitheatrof's rich musical score. "An Act of Murder" makes a profound statement on the value, and the fragility, of life.

Reviewed by bkoganbing 7 / 10 / 10

Questions Still Raised Today

As Stanley Ridges says in An Act Of Murder what is hopeless today, might be curable on Wednesday such are the advances of medicine. And certainly we can treat and even cure more brain tumors today, even the type that Florence Eldridge has in this film. But in 1948 cancer on the brain was a certain death sentence. At this time young Johnny Gunther was going through the same kind of struggle which his father would chronicle in Death Be Not Proud. Also the public remembered the premature death of George Gershwin from such an illness. Certainly Fredric March's character would also have been aware of these things, most definitely about Gershwin. An Act Of Murder casts March and Eldrige as a small town Pennsylvania judge and his wife with Geraldine Brooks as their daughter. March is a rigid by the book judge known as Old Maximum because of the harsh sentences imposed. March has cross swords with defense attorney Edmond O'Brien in court so he's not real thrilled with Brooks going out with him, but Eldridge supports her daughter. But when after having some dizzy spells, Eldridge goes to see their doctor Stanley Ridges, he finds out that she's got a terminal brain tumor and her suffering will increase exponentially. He's got a real crisis on his hands. Mercy killing is an option he considers and true to his rigid code, March confesses to killing her to relieve her suffering and is put on trial for it. Guess who gets to defend him? Even with the Code parameters strictly enforced at this time, euthanasia was a daring subject to tackle in 1948. The ending which I won't reveal is a cop out, but they could have done little else at the time given the censorship restrictions. March, Eldridge, and the rest of the cast are brilliant. An Act Of Murder raises questions still hotly contested today.

Reviewed by adamshl 7 / 10 / 10

Daring Morality Play

The concept of tempering legality with compassion is a daring, slippery slope. It is today as it was in 1948 when this challenging film was released. Fortunately, this drama has the great acting team Florence Eldridge and Fredric March in the lead roles, lending both power and sensitivity to their characterizations. While conceding that the law must by its nature be clear and committed, one can also empathize with the human challenges faced in the case of a terminally ill loved one who is in great pain and suffering. Where does one draw the line in such cases, especially when a spouse accused of murder emphatically pleads guilty? It's a tough situation created here, and one that must either tread the path of legal justice or find extenuating circumstances to help relieve the inevitable sentence. "An Act of Murder" manages to walk this tightrope with considerable balance, thanks to an outstanding cast and some petty talented writers. The film also may be considered a "lost work," despite the pairing of Mr. and Mrs. March in the lead roles. It's also interesting to see only a single bona fide professional review in the IMDb, as though this subject may have been (and still may be) too tough to handle. The most complete review (by Bosley Crowther of the NY Times) expresses the critic's general reaction without declaring a firm stance on the controversial subject of euthanasia. And perhaps this is the best we can ever get, for the topic may be too challenging for us mortals to ever definitively solve.

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