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An Act of Murder (1948)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 18 December 1948 (Sweden)
A hard-line judge is tempted toward mercy-killing by his wife's terminal cancer.

Director:

Michael Gordon

Writers:

Ernst Lothar (novel), Michael Blankfort (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Fredric March ... Judge Calvin Cooke
Edmond O'Brien ... David Douglas
Florence Eldridge ... Catherine Cooke
Geraldine Brooks ... Ellie Cooke
Stanley Ridges ... Doctor Walter Morrison
John McIntire ... Judge Ogden
Frederic Tozere Frederic Tozere ... Charles Dayton
Will Wright ... Judge Jim Wilder
Virginia Brissac ... Mrs. Russell
Francis McDonald ... Mr. Russell
Mary Servoss ... Julia
Don Beddoe ... Pearson
Clarence Muse ... Mr. Pope
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Storyline

Judge Cooke, good husband and father, is known in court as Old Man Maximum. Cooke's daughter loves defender Dave Douglas, who hates Cooke's attitude toward defendants. Cooke's life shatters when he learns his wife has terminal brain cancer; as her pain worsens, he begins to consider mercy-killing, but that would place him in the position of a defendant. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

MERCY or MURDER? Can you condemn this man?

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 December 1948 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

The Judge's Wife See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Florence Eldridge, who portrays Fredric March's wife, also portrayed his wife twelve years later in 'Inherit the Wind'. The two actors were married in real life. See more »

Goofs

While the setting was Pennsylvania, the outdoor highway scenes were obviously shot in California. See more »

Quotes

Doctor Walter Morrison: What is incurable today is curable next Wednesday.
See more »

Connections

Version of Murder or Mercy (1974) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Remarkable Little Film
7 March 2015 | by paulbpageSee all my reviews

There's something quite remarkable at the heart of this honest and direct portrayal of a very human crisis. The leads here - Frederic March and Florence Eldridge, real-life husband and wife - are completely and thoroughly a middle-aged couple and depicted as such, in all their wrinkles and folds and reflections on lives that have been lived. It's a reminder that the two kinds of people we see in movies are the very young and beautiful and the very old. The Cookes here are seemingly fully filled in, a husband and wife with grown children, in the midst of real lives, inhabiting their marriage with the deep love that is far beyond the romantic love that's the staple of motion pictures. This isn't the dashing Frederic March of the 1930s but a mature, restrained father and husband. It's a bit melodramatic at times - director Michael Gordon is a journeyman professional and not William Wyler, director of the great film of that era starring March, The Best Years of Our LIves. But watch for the details, such as the sharp, discordant strings stabbing along as windshield wipers swipe across the screen. I think I saw that in another movie made a few years later.


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