Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Original Chewbacca Defense

When I wrote about Nicholas Ray's Party Girl a while back, I forgot to mention what I think is the best scene in this uneven but entertaining movie: where Robert Taylor, playing a crippled mob lawyer (who later has a miracle operation and develops a conscience, not necessarily in that order) gets an obviously guilty client acquitted by delivering the most obfuscatory, manipulative closing address ever: urging the jury to stick it to the media, handing out press reports that predict a guilty verdict, exaggerating his limp, producing an old pocket watch and claiming his father gave it to him. It kind of sums up the whole movie: sort of noir-ish, but sillier and in glossy color and CinemaScope.

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