movie film review | chris tookey

Judgment At Nuremburg / Judgement At Nuremburg

United Artists - all rights reserved
  Judgment At Nuremburg / Judgement At Nuremburg Review
Tookey's Rating
5 /10
Average Rating
7.46 /10
Spencer Tracy , Marlene Dietrich, Burt Lancaster
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Directed by: Stanley Kramer
Written by: Abby Mann from own play

Released: 1961
Genre: DRAMA
Origin: US
Length: 190


Members of the German judiciary are tried in 1948 for crimes against humanity.

Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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Trying trial melodrama, turgid and bleak but with some searing moments. Based on a much shorter TV play from 1959, it suffers from a slow pace and too much gimmicky camerawork, obviously designed to conceal the static nature of the legal proceedings. Burt Lancaster is miscast (he was a late replacement for Laurence Olivier). But it was a big popular success - outside Germany. Photographer Ernest Laszlo won an Oscar - as did screenwriter Abby Mann, who accepted his award modestly "on behalf of all intellectuals".
"It never did three cents' business in Germany, It played so many empty houses it just stopped. People asked how could I, an American, try to rekindle German guilt? Well, I said that it would indeed have been better if the Germans had made it, but the fact is they didn't. So I did."
(Stanley Kramer)
"Interminable, heavy-going... All good stuff, but too much of it."
"An all-star concentration-camp drama, with special guest-victim appearances."
(Gavin Lambert)
"Some believe that by tackling such themes Kramer earns at least partial remission from criticism. How much? 20% off for effort?"
(Stanley Kauffmann)
"The film indicts all Germany for putting expediency, the desire for national unity and strength, above justice: now and then Judgment at Nuremberg has a single-minded ferocity of condemnation which I can't help finding a bit repellent. (Dilys Powell)
"An intrepid indictment not of authoritarianism in the abstract, not of the trials themselves, not of the various moral and legal issues involved, but of Nazi war atrocities, about which there would have seemed already to be some consensus."
(Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, 1968)
"Another distinguishing mark of top directors is the absence of camera moves. Undiguised camera tricks are the mark of the beginners who fall in love with bizarre camera angles and hand-held moving camera shots. Wrong. Fall in love with your actors. All else is machinery, and directors' vanity... If they notice your "show off" camera, the mood goes out the window. Stanley Kramer's 360-degree pan in the courtroom of Judgment at Nuremburg served only to distract attention from his tense drama."
(Frank Capra, 1971)

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