Released 1961 (West Germany)
American, in English (significant amounts of German, mostly translated)
Director - Stanley Kramer
Stars - Spencer Tracy, Richard Widmark, Maximilian Schell, Burt Lancaster, and many, many others
For those of you who don’t know your history, HERE is a link to the wiki on the Nuremberg trials. This movie represents a fictionalized account of those trials. American judge Dan Haywood (Tracy) is called to Nuremberg to preside of the trial of four German judges (one of whom is Dr. Ernst Janning, played by Lancaster) who stand accused of crimes against humanity. Widmark co-stars as prosecutor Colonel Tad Lawson, and Schell as defense attorney Hans Rolfe.
The movie utilizes some actual historic footage of liberated concentration camps, including scenes of naked dead bodies and other disturbing images.
It’s long (3 hours), it’s slow, and it’s dry as a bone.
The acting is phenomenal. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was good (even William Shatner, as Haywood’s aide Captain Harrison Byers), but my favorites were Montgomery Clift (as trial witness Rudolph Petersen), who was absolutely riveting, Maximilian Schell, and Judy Garland (as trial witness Irene Hoffman), who was unrecognizable.
Honestly, I’m not a big fan of courtroom dramas. Actual court proceedings are boring. To combat this fact, TV shows/movies tend to interject excitement by having judges/witnesses/lawyers make big, dramatic speeches that would never, ever be allowed to happen in a real life court. I find the whole spectacle overblown and tedious and this film was not an exception to that rule.
I give the movie 3.75 stars.