Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

1956

Crime / Drama / Film-Noir

7
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 71%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 55%
IMDb Rating 7 10 4278

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
March 14, 2018 at 11:13 PM

Director

Cast

Joan Fontaine as Susan Spencer
Dana Andrews as Tom Garrett
Edward Binns as Lt. Kennedy
Sidney Blackmer as Austin Spencer
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
656.89 MB
1280*640
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 20 min
P/S counting...
1.26 GB
1920*960
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 20 min
P/S 1 / 4

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by seymourblack-1 8 / 10

Bizarre, Twisted & Very Enjoyable

"Beyong A Reasonable Doubt" is an offbeat thriller with a fascinating plot about two men who devise a dangerous scheme to expose the flawed nature of the legal system, the uncertain value of circumstantial evidence and the inherent dangers of using the death penalty as a form of punishment for certain crimes. The clever set-up for the story, a number of entertaining plot twists and a good deal of suspense make the whole film compelling to watch and compensate greatly for some of its shortcomings which appear to be attributable mainly to its low budget.

Newspaper publisher Austin Spencer (Sidney Blackmer) is an opponent of capital punishment who's become concerned about the conduct of his local D.A. Roy Thompson (Philip Bourneuf) who regularly uses circumstantial evidence to secure convictions for crimes which are punishable by the death penalty. Austin's concerns relate to the unreliable nature of the evidence, the risk of an innocent man being executed and the belief that the D.A. is more concerned with gaining publicity to advance his political career than he is about ensuring that the justice system operates fairly.

Austin explains his concerns to Tom Garrett (Dana Andrews) a novelist who used to work for him as a reporter and suggests a plan that could lead to an innocent man being sentenced to death for a crime he didn't commit. If the plan could be carried out successfully and the man's innocence could subsequently be proved, the use of capital punishment could be effectively discredited.

Tom, who's engaged to be married to Austin's daughter Susan (Joan Fontaine), agrees to be framed for the murder of a nightclub dancer and as he plants various items of phony evidence, Austin takes photographs which could later be used to prove that Tom's not the murderer. The plan seems to work well and Tom is eventually arrested and tried before the jury withdraw to consider their verdict. At this point, as planned, Austin gathers together the various documents and photographs that will prove Tom's innocence but before he's able to present them to the appropriate officials he's killed in a car crash and all the material that he's carrying which is pertinent to the case is burned in the wreckage. This leaves Tom in an incredibly tight spot and the developments that follow are genuinely surprising.

It's deeply ironic that the two men whose scheme is intended to highlight the unfairness and deficiencies of the justice system actually have no concerns about misleading the police by planting false evidence, wasting their time in processing the case or impeding them in their pursuit of the real culprit. Furthermore, both men have no scruples about their plans to exploit the scheme for their own profit as it will provide good material for Austin's newspapers and Tom's next book.

"Beyond A Reasonable Doubt" is a real no-frills production with some acting performances which are rather perfunctory in nature. The main strengths of this movie however, are its lively pace, its wonderfully bizarre plot and the unexpected twists which make it so intriguing and enjoyable to watch.

Reviewed by claudio_carvalho 8 / 10

Surprising Twist in a Great Film-Noir

The owner of an important newspaper Austin Spencer (Sidney Blackmer) opposes to the capital punishment and particularly to the prosecutor Roy Thompson (Philip Bourneuf), who has just succeeded in a trial based on circumstantial evidences. When a dancer is strangled and the police have no suspect, Austin convinces his future son-in-law, the prominent writer Tom Garrett (Dana Andrews), to plant circumstantial evidences to self-incriminate, while he would hold pictures, receipts and other evidences of his innocence until the very last moment. Later Austin would begin a campaign in his newspaper disclosing the possibility of sending an innocent to the electric chair. They decide to hide the truth from Austin's daughter Susan (Joan Fontaine) since she could not support the situation under stress. When the jury withdraws from the court in the end of the trial to give the sentence, Austin takes the evidences that prove the innocence of Tom from his safe, but has a car accident and dies. Tom is sentenced to death penalty and tries to convince Susan of his innocence as his last hope.

"Beyond a Reasonable Doubt" is a great film-noir with a surprising twist in the very end. The plot seems to be naive – who would accept to be accused of murder just to prove a point against the death penalty? – but after the very last twist, the concept changes from naive to Machiavellian. I have glanced unfair reviews in IMDb that I do not agree, since I liked this movie a lot. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Suplício de uma Alma" ("Torment of a Soul")

Reviewed by The_Void 8 / 10

Last but by no means least for Lang!

For his final Hollywood film, Fritz Lang decided to expose the pitfalls of capital punishment for circumstantial evidence. For this film, Lang has kept it simple; with the entire movie focusing on the central premise and not a lot of anything else going on. Filmmakers can sometimes saturate a film with lots of sub-plots, and it can have a huge detrimental effect on what the film is trying to achieve. By keeping it simple, Lang gives himself time to fully explore the implications of his plot and the film is made more compelling because of this. The story follows Austin Spencer; a person of stature that is continually campaigning against circumstantial evidence being used as a means to send someone to the electric chair. His efforts are unsuccessful, until he has the bright idea to have a man sent to death row on circumstantial evidence, only to be pardoned at the last minute by means of the evidence to prove his innocence being brought to light. Enter Tom Garrett; Austin's son in law to be, and the man that agrees to frame himself for murder...

This is perhaps Lang's best assault on the American justice system; he has created a story that is interesting and very plausible and it works a treat in that it gets you thinking about the fact that with this kind of law; someone really could be killed for something they didn't do. Of course, the chances of someone risking being put to death to expose this are unlikely, but then again; it's only a movie, so you can expect to suspend your belief a little for a point to be made. Beyond a Reasonable Doubt also features one of the most finely tuned plot twists that I've seen in a movie. Lang shows us everything about the plot; from the first ideas, to the setting up, all the way to the trial and because of this; the final twist comes as a complete surprise. It's been done and done a million times since this film, but despite this; Beyond a Reasonable Doubt still has the power to shock the viewer.

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt is one of the highlights of Lang's illustrious filmography. It has an unfairly low IMDb rating, and I hope that you will not use that as a means of deciding whether or not to see this film. It is efficient story telling at it's best and this is one of the highlights of the film noir era.

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