Aiming to get in his old man's good graces, Floyd arranges a city-wide celebration lauding Kincaid as the oldest living graduate of a nearby military academy. Instead, the festivities serve... See full summary »
Norman is a curmudgeon with an estranged relationship with his daughter Chelsea. At Golden Pond, he and his wife nevertheless agree to care for Billy, the son of Chelsea's new boyfriend, and a most unexpected relationship blooms.
A moving and uplifting drama about the effects of interracial marriage in the 1960s. Friends since childhood, and loved by both families, this couple are exiled after their wedding and have... See full summary »
Ron Levin, a wealthy businessman, has disappeared. No body is found, but there was a list with instructions in his house - a recipe for murder. Its author Joe Hunt is the defendant. The ... See full summary »
Based on the book Crossed Over: A Murder/A Memoir by Beverly Lowry, Crossed Over tells the true story of a woman, Beverly Lowry, who after the tragic hit-and-run death of her teenage son, ... See full summary »
This movie is about an aging trucker named Elegant John Howard. Howard decides he and his truck Elenor has one more good run in them, and with the help of a hitchhiker and a few others he will make it happen.
Based on the true story of a woman named Ruth Gruber who travels to Europe to help escort 1000 Jewish War victims to the United States. She comes to love and feel sorry for them all, and ... See full summary »
True story of Clarence Gideon's fight to be appointed counsel at the expense of the state. This landmark case led to the Supreme Court's decision which extended this right to all criminal defendants.Written by
Steve Walker <firstname.lastname@example.org>
After Gideon wins his second trial and leaves the courthouse a reporter asks him a question. As Gideon leaves the reporter scribbles something on his notebook. However the reporter's notebook is closed throughout the shot. See more »
[reading Robert Kennedy's decision]
If an obscure Florida convict named Clarence Earl Gideon had not sat down in prison with a pencil and paper to write a letter to the Supreme Court; and if the Supreme Court had not taken the trouble to look at the merits in that one crude petition among all the bundles of mail it must receive every day, the vast machinery of American law would have gone on functioning undisturbed. But Gideon did write that letter; the court did look into his case;...
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The very best of the post-1970's "Hallmark Hall of Fame" productions
In another review, I stated that the "Hallmark Hall of Fame" series was never as good during the last twenty years or so as it had been during its glorious days in the 1950's and '60's. There was one brilliant exception, however, and this is it. "Gideon's Trumpet" can stand up proudly alongside all the other "Hall of Fame" episodes of the past as one of the finest made-for TV films ever made.
It tells the true story of Clarence Earl Gideon, an ex-convict who, in the early 1960's, was accused of breaking into and robbing a convenience store in Florida. Claiming innocence, he was forced to serve as his own lawyer because states' laws at that time did not require an accused person to be automatically given a lawyer. Failing miserably at his own defense, he was sent to prison, where, as a model prisoner, he studied up on law and petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for the right to be granted a lawyer.
This phrase has already become a cliché from overuse, but Henry Fonda, in one of his last performances, does not play Clarence Gideon--he IS Clarence Gideon. He inhabits the role so completely that we never believe we are watching Henry Fonda; we believe we are seeing a poor, inarticulate, awkward, somewhat cranky, but basically kind man named Clarence Gideon. Fonda utterly lives the role in a way that he seldom does in his other films (although he was an excellent actor).
The other actor who gives a memorable performance is José Ferrer, as Abe Fortas, who pleads Fonda's petition before the Supreme Court. As Fortas, Ferrer gets to do one of the things he does best, and which he had not done to my knowledge since playing "Cyrano de Bergerac"--deliver a long, impressive speech. I don't know how much of the speech was actually taken from the Court hearing and how much was written by the excellent screenwriters, but there are few things as satisfying as an actor who not only gives a great performance, but also delivers a long speech beautifully. The thrill of hearing Ferrer's rich, beautiful voice argue a case before the Supreme Court is enough reason for me to tune in to this film every time it is shown on TV.
There is also a cameo from Fay Wray, as Fonda's longtime landlady, and the other Justices of the Court, all of whom are also excellent, consist of such familiar faces as John Houseman, Sam Jaffe, Dean Jagger, and other familiar character actors from television.
This great production might strike some viewers brought up only on action films as boring--there is no action at all in it; it's like watching a filmed play--but, believe me, there is not a single boring moment in it, if you appreciate well-written characters and dialogue. And this film avoids all of the drippy sentiment that has plagued "Hallmark Hall of Fame" over the last six years or so. If only this anthology series had stayed on the level of "Gideon's Trumpet".
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