Magazine article American Cinematographer

Reel Justice: The Courtroom Goes to the Movies

Magazine article American Cinematographer

Reel Justice: The Courtroom Goes to the Movies

Article excerpt

Reel Justice: The Courtroom Goes to the Movies by Paul Bergman and Michael Asimow Andrews and McMeel, 357 pps., paperback, $14.95

In the fresh and different Reel Justice, two UCLA law professors take a penetrating gander at about 70 different movies that spotlight courtroom sequences and rate each in terms of authenticity, quality and dramatic worth. The rating system is as follows: four gavels = a classic, three = good, two = just okay, and one = ask for a new trial. The movies subjected to scrutiny and range from courtroom blockbusters (Inherit the Wind, 12 Angry Men, Fury, Adam's Rib) to lesser-known legislative titles (e.g. Prisoners of the Sun, Let Him Have It). Credits, a synopsis and a detailed report on the courtroom action are given in each case.

Not surprisingly, many of the films based on real court trials rate four gavels: Judgment at Nuremberg, A Man for all Seasons, Breaker Morant, and The Life of Emile Zola, for example. Several comical pictures, including Mr. …

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