LEGAL FILMS OF THE 50'S
UCLA LAW REVIEW
Copyright (c) 2001 The Regents of the University of California
UCLA Law Review
48 UCLA L. Rev. 1473
LENGTH: 10680 words
SYMPOSIUM: LAW AND POPULAR CULTURE: LAW, CINEMA, AND IDEOLOGY: HOLLYWOOD LEGAL FILMS OF THE 1950S
David Ray Papke*
* Professor of Law and American Studies, Marquette University Law School.
... On Trial, a film derived from Elmer Rice's play of the same name, was
shot originally in 1917, a second time as an early
"talkie" in 1928, and then still again as a feature film in 1939. ... Francis Nevins
has suggested these films of the late 1950s and very early 1960s constitute a
"golden age" of the American legal film. ... I. The Films' Shared Legal Content ...
Testimony and evidence are not parts of one big, emerging puzzle as they are in
a Hollywood film. ... The Hollywood film includes among its characteristics a
significant ideological component. ... The legal process - even in the
Hollywood film - does not always get things right; it does not always deliver
"No one in Hollywood was willing to take the slightest chance on anything or
anybody," film historian David A. Cook has written. ... It is hardly surprising that the
film industry would, in the late 1950s, produce films extolling the rule of
law. ... The film and the television series featured the character Herbert T.
Philbrick. ... Excellent writers, directors, and actors came willingly to the
legal film projects, and the public and critics, themselves enamored with a
rule of law ideology, delighted in the films once they were released. ...
Beyond their availability as video rentals, the films remain important cultural
exemplars for American legal film and television. ...
Films about law, lawyers and legal institutions have been part of the American
cinema since virtually its beginning. D.W. Griffith's Falsely Accused! (1908)
n1 featured a devoted boyfriend screening a film in the courtroom in order to
protect his true love from murder charges.
n2 On Trial, a film derived from Elmer Rice's play of the same name,
n3 was shot originally in 1917,
n4 a second time as an early
"talkie" in 1928,
n5 and then still again as a feature film in 1939.
n6 Counsellor at Law (1933)
n7 starred John Barrymore as
[*1474] a lawyer with offices in the new Empire State Building facing disbarment.
n8 But these films and others are relatively independent Hollywood excursions
into the world of law and do not come together as a genre or a tradition. Only
in the late 1950s and very early 1960s did Hollywood give filmgoers a large and
similar group of feature films regarding law, lawyers, and legal institutions.
And what a cinematic feast it was:
12 Angry Men (1957),
n9 Witness for the Prosecution (1957),
n10 I Want to Live! (1958),
n11 Anatomy of a Murder (1959),
n12 The Young Philadelphians (1959),
n13 Compulsion (1959),
n14 Inherit the Wind (1960),
n15 Judgment at Nuremberg (1961),
n16 and To Kill a Mockingbird (1962).
n17 Critics and film historians have been struck by this tremendous concentration
of legal films. Francis Nevins has suggested these films of the late 1950s and
very early 1960s constitute a
"golden age" of the American legal film.
n18 Thinking primarily of the films' dramatic trials, Thomas Harris has said the
"the finest hour of the courtroom cinema in America."
n19 Even Anthony Chase, a more critical scholar, says the lawyer portrayals in the
"represent a complete integration of the virtuous-lawyer archetype in popular
culture - an elaborated image unprecedented ... within the existing history of
American mass cultural iconography."
Imbedded within the sense of these films as a
"golden age" or
"the finest hour" are two types of praise - one obvious and one perhaps less so. The obvious
praise is for the films' superb writing, directing, and acting. Surely
Hollywood was impressed. Using the four categories of best screenplay,
director, actor, and picture, the nine films could have received a maximum of
thirty-six Oscar nominations. In fact, the films did receive twenty-two
n21 If we eliminate The Young Philadelphians, which nobody seemed to like, and
Compulsion, which bore the burden of Hollywood critic Orson Welles in the
starring role, the figures are even more striking. The legal films won
twenty-two of a possible twenty-eight Oscar nominations for best writing,
directing, acting, and picture. These films were neither minor nor
unsuccessful. In the opinion of Hollywood itself, the legal films of the late
1950s and early 1960s are some of the very best films of the era.
More subtly, the films garner praise for what they tell us about law in
American life. The films speak positively of law, lawyers, and legal
institutions or, at least, of what law, lawyers, and legal institutions might
provide for social life. For the most part, the films suggest lawyers are men
of integrity committed to deserving clients. Courtroom trials are fair and
provide closure to heated controversies. And law in general is a close ally of
justice. Enamored with the same law-related sentiments as the films, critics
liked the films for echoing their own beliefs.
This Essay scrutinizes the message of the legal films of the so-called
"golden age." In Part I, I summarize the law-related content of the films. Part II critiques
this message as law-related ideology, focusing in particular on
12 Angry Men and Judgment at Nuremberg. Part III asks why Hollywood might have produced and
distributed this filmic ideology in abundance beginning in the late 1950s. The
Conclusion considers the importance of the legal films forty years later. I
argue in this regard that these legal films are exemplars for the standard pop
cultural legal drama and also that the films' ideological position remains
I. The Films' Shared Legal Content
The major legal films from the late 1950s and early 1960s are hardly
identical. The films are derived from successful plays, contemporary novels,
and, in the case of I Want to Live!, a series of newspaper articles and a
related collection of letters.
n22 For the films set in the United States, the specific settings range from the
American South of the 1930s to Upper Michigan of the 1950s. In addition,
Judgment at Nuremberg is set in post-World War II Germany and Witness for the
Prosecution in London. Indeed, viewers can enjoy and interpret the films
without focusing on their legal content but rather on other elements. To Kill a
Mockingbird is about
[*1476] growing up, Compulsion is about Nietzschean delusions, and so forth. But
still, the nine films, as variable as they might be, do have a shared legal
content. The films tell us similar stories about law, lawyers, and legal
The lawyers and judges in the films - all white men - are an appealing lot, in
some sense the best bar association you could assemble. Some of the appeal is
physical: Jimmy Stewart as Paul Biegler in Anatomy of a Murder, Gregory Peck as
Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, and Paul Newman as Tony Lawrence in The
Young Philadelphians are fictional lawyers and genuine movie stars. In addition
to being physically attractive, the Hollywood attorneys are articulate,
forceful, and principled. Their appeal, in other words, derives from their
character as much as their handsomeness.
Some of the lawyers become appealing after recovering psychologically and
medically from what plagues them at the beginning of the various films. Tony
Lawrence in The Young Philadelphians, for example, is devastated when his true
love leaves for Europe and marries another man. The grouchy barrister Sir
Wilfrid Robarts in Witness for the Prosecution is recovering from a heart
attack. Attorney Paul Biegler has apparently stumbled into a mid-life crisis at
the beginning of Anatomy of a Murder, and much to the consternation of his
secretary, Biegler seems more interested in going fishing than in paying either
the office bills or her salary. All eventually heal themselves as they pursue
their lead cases. They become the way Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird
was from the start: smart, stable, devoted to the profession, and blessed with
the kind of moral authority that is most possible when one has deserving
To some extent, this characterization depends on a political
"centering" of the legal professionals. One might think, for example, that attorney Henry
Drummond in Inherit the Wind, who is a fictionalized version of Clarence
Darrow, would register as a leftist standing opposed to the rightists
prosecuting and persecuting the teacher of Darwinian evolution. The real-life
Darrow, after all, was frequently aligned with leftist causes and clients. In
fact, the Drummond character defines himself with regard not only to the
religious right but also to a cynical, jaded newspaper reporter named E.K.
Hornbeck and played with an annoying cockiness by Gene Kelly. By the end of
Inherit the Wind, Drummond seems very much the centrist.
The judges in the
"golden age" legal films are comparably nonpartisan. Most are relatively minor characters,
ruling with a steely eye on various motions and objections. Especially
intriguing among these minor judicial characters is Judge Weaver in Anatomy of
a Murder. Played by real-life attorney Joseph Welch, who stared down Joseph
McCarthy in televised
[*1477] Congressional hearings,
n23 Weaver is an effective, precise proceduralist. His casting and performance no
doubt pleased Robert Traver, the author of the best-selling novel from which
the screenplay was derived.
n24 Traver wanted a more realistic portrayal of the courtroom trial, a trial
"its very understatement, its pent and almost stifled quality ... ."
n25 Traver and Welch promoted their vision with Otto Preminger, the director of
the film. Himself the son of a prosecutor and the holder of a law degree from
the University of Vienna, Preminger was reportedly receptive.
In Judgment at Nuremberg, Judge Dan Haywood, the most developed judicial
character, also takes a position at the center of the political spectrum.
Played by Spencer Tracy, Haywood hails from Maine and describes himself as a
"rock-ribbed Republican who thought Franklin Roosevelt was a great man."
n27 His nation calls on him to serve as a judge in the war crimes trial of four
Nazis. Upon arriving in Nuremberg, Haywood appropriately enough seats himself
in the middle between the other two judges and then proceeds to approach
everything without any detectable partisanship.
The films' positioning of the starring lawyers and judges at an almost
depoliticized center facilitates the characters' championing of a rule of law
ideology. In Part II, I say more about this position as an ideological
construct, but in essence those who champion the rule of law see law and legal
institutions as admirably neutral and objective, as the kind of ordering
devices that merit our deepest respect. When members of the Philadelphia elite
pressure attorney Tony Lawrence in The Young Philadelphians to ease up in his
defense of an accused murderer in order to prevent embarrassing the elite,
Lawrence responds as viewers of the 1950s would like their Hollywood lawyers to
respond. He dramatically refuses to compromise his professional responsibility
or to abandon his principles. Trials and legal institutions, Lawrence says, are
supposed to be about fairness and justice for individuals.
The legal institution with which these appealing and admirable cinematic
lawyers work most closely is the trial court. In these films, as well as in
most law-related film and television, the majority of lawyers are litigators,
with the biggest stars especially likely to be criminal defense attorneys. To
some extent, this specialization within the fictive Hollywood bar is perfectly
predictable. Litigation and trial work, after all, have greater dramatic
[*1478] potential than the drafting of wills or the closing of real estate
transactions. But still, Hollywood goes beyond merely relying on litigation and
trials. Hollywood creates an idealized courtroom and courtroom proceeding, one
which has little to do with the tawdry physical settings and bureaucratic
realities of sentence-threatening and plea-bargaining that dominate most urban
The films feature a range of striking courtrooms, all symmetrical and blessed
with handsome accoutrements. Perhaps the most impressive are the courtrooms in
Philadelphia and Chicago as displayed, respectively, in The Young
Philadelphians and Compulsion.
n29 Both are wood-paneled and lit by attractive lights mounted on the walls. Huge
wooden doors are at the back, ready to swing open for dramatic and mysterious
entries and departures. The ornate bench stands majestically at the
center-front, and in The Young Philadelphians, globe lights on posts festoon
the legal altar. The prosecution and defense tables are made of the sturdiest
wood, and well-groomed citizens, eager for high theater, fill the seats beyond
Furthermore, courtroom grandeur in the films is hardly limited to the urban
courtrooms. The trials in Anatomy of a Murder, Inherit the Wind, and To Kill a
Mockingbird all take place in small-town America - Michigan's Upper Peninsula;
Maycomb, Georgia; and Hillsboro, Tennessee, to be specific. The heat in the
latter is oppressive, even leading volunteer prosecutor Matthew Brady, the
character modeled after William Jennings Bryan, to move that counsel be allowed
to remove their jackets. Yet Brady has no reason to complain about the
courtroom, blessed as it is with ornaments and fixtures similar to those in
fictional Philadelphia and Chicago. The courtroom in Anatomy of a Murder is
comparably grand, including the type of globe lights on posts used in The Young
Philadelphians. The courtroom in To Kill a Mockingbird is the most modest of
the lot, with witnesses and others expected to testify in a free-standing chair
placed in front of the simple bench. However, even in humble Depression-era
Maycomb, the courtroom has a high, arched ceiling that enhances the dignity of
the polite African Americans who may sit only in the balcony.
[*1479] More striking than the courtrooms themselves are the proceedings within them.
The films vary greatly in terms of the proportion actually devoted to the
rendering of a trial.
12 Angry Men has only a brief image from the courtroom at the very beginning of the film.
The courtroom trial in The Young Philadelphians is a twenty-minute crescendo at
the end of a two-hour performance. Scenes from a courtroom trial are intercut
throughout Inherit the Wind. Yet despite this variation, all the films include
courtroom trials, and the trials bring dramatic power and special meaning to
Within the trials themselves, the greatest drama involves the prosecutor and
defense counsel examining and cross-examining parties on the stand. The lawyers
puff and pout. They question aggressively and react strongly. Often they rise
from their tables and strut about the well - the flat, unadorned space
immediately in front of the bench. When the posturing and protesting gets out
of hand, the judge calls the lawyers to the bench for a side-bar conference.
Here the dialogue becomes especially intimate and earnest, and the judges seem
somehow able to sort out controversies without the jury hearing and being
In the American cultural context, this variety of drama is quite engaging.
Communications scholar Carol J. Clover describes it as
"narrative parataxis - a stretch of textual bits and pieces, without
coordinating conjunctions, as casually unbound as possible."
n31 Put more colloquially, the drama is unpredictable and exciting. The
examinations and cross-examinations of people on the stand are among the best
moments in the history of American cinema. Examples include defense counsel
Hans Rolfe's cross-examination of Irene Hoffman (played by Judy Garland) in
Judgment at Nuremberg, and Sir Wilfrid Robarts's cross-examination of Christine
Vole (played by Marlene Dietrich) in Witness for the Prosecution. Also striking
is defense counsel Henry Drummond's calling and demolishing of prosecutor
Matthew Brady (played by Frederic March) in Inherit the Wind. Brady fancies
himself an expert on the Bible, and his admissions regarding the Bible's
implausible teachings on creation disastrously undermine the prosecution.
The examinations and cross-examinations in the films are followed by the
prosecution and defense's closing arguments to the jury, much of which the
camera invites us to watch from behind, over the shoulders of, and - at least
vicariously - in the shoes of the jurors. Several of the closing statements
from defense counsel are truly inspiring. In To Kill a Mockingbird, for
example, Atticus Finch's closing movingly addresses the subject of courts:
"In this country our courts are the great levelers. In our courts all men are
[*1480] created equal. I'm no idealist to believe firmly in the integrity of our
courts and our jury system. That's no ideal to me. That is a living, working
After the virtually mandatory dramatic closings, the films are mixed in terms
of what, if any, parts of the trial process they portray. Most of
12 Angry Men portrays jury deliberations in a hot and tension-packed courthouse room. In
Compulsion, defense counsel Jonathan Wilk, played by Orson Welles, delivers a
lengthy, almost Shakespearean argument against capital punishment at the
A veteran litigator or actual trial court judge might find it difficult to
watch these Hollywood proceedings. There is a great deal, after all, that might
strike one as unrealistic or technically inaccurate. Actual attorneys are less
handsome and articulate than Hollywood actors, and criminal defense counsel are
most commonly public defenders with poor salaries and an impossible number of
hopeless cases. Real-life examinations and cross-examinations are much less
dramatic than they are in golden age law films. Attorneys rarely grill those on
the stand or repeatedly object to lines of questioning, in part because they
are not aggressive litigators and in part because jurors dislike delays and
interruptions. Defendants frequently do not take the stand, sometimes to
conceal prior records and sometimes because they would make lousy impressions.
Police, meanwhile, are often the most effective givers of testimony, sometimes
having benefited from formal training in how to testify. When side-bar
conferences occur, they are often brief and businesslike, and while cinematic
judges seem somehow to conduct these conferences in the courtroom without
biasing jurors, real-life judges invite the lawyers into chambers.
n33 Real-life closing arguments are frequently cut-and-dried, and in some
jurisdictions lawyers face stringent time limits. Overall, actual trials do not
necessarily have coherent story lines. Testimony and evidence are not parts of
one big, emerging puzzle as they are in a Hollywood film.
[*1481] But none of this is to say that the legal films from the late 1950s and early
1960s should be rejected as simply inaccurate. The films do not purport to be
documentaries. They do not attempt to be cinematic snapshots of the American
legal profession, courtroom trial, or law in general. If there is a law-related
goal the films share, it is not the realistic portrayal of legal procedures but
rather the provocative juxtaposition of law and justice.
All of the important legal films from this period explore the ways in which
lawyers, courtroom trials, and law in general relate to justice. As pop
cultural artifacts, the films are not deep, probing, philosophical studies, but
they do point to a range of topical concerns and ask if these concerns are
addressed by the law in a fair and just way. In
12 Angry Men and Witness for the Prosecution, for example, the defendants are members of
minority groups and racism rears its ugly head. In Judgment at Nuremberg war
crimes are at issue, and in Inherit the Wind the teaching of evolution collides
with narrow-minded religious fundamentalism. The stories of the litigants and
the lawyers all become bigger than accounts of individual crimes and
controversies; all take on larger symbolic meaning.
Law and the courtroom trial, hence, serve as conventions or tropes. All
cultures rely on such conventions or topes. As Hayden White has pointed out,
human beings living in their cultural contexts do not articulate and rely upon
precise meanings; we instead work through standardized conventions and tropes
toward meanings that can serve us.
n35 The films effectively use the law to explore larger questions of personal and
social justice, and viewers and critics for the most part found this cinematic
contemplation of law's relationship to justice to be engaging.
II. The Films Understood Ideologically
The trope of law and the courtroom trial in the Hollywood legal movie also had
a political dimension and could be understood as ideological in nature. I
introduce ideology as a central concept in my work with some trepidation.
"Ideology," after all, is a complex and multifaceted term, and one must be careful to
specify the particular usage one has in mind. In addition,
[*1482] in the United States
"ideology" strikes many as a foreign and dangerously subversive term, and one must
therefore be aware of bias against the term.
For purposes of the Essay at hand, I do not for a second equate
"propaganda." The distinction became clear to me in 1987 during a Fulbright year in Taiwan.
On several occasions that year I was invited to view and critique short films
about Taiwan's strategic importance that were in production in the government
propaganda office. Propaganda emerged as a quite calculated, sometimes
disingenuous product. Ideology, by contrast, is more generally normative,
expressing the hopes and dreams of a society without necessarily attempting to
dupe people. Indeed, the most effective and powerful ideology is that which
nobody recognizes as such. It is simply taken for granted as an expression of
the way a society, or perhaps the whole world, should be.
"Any stable society will be organised [sic] around a preferred self-image... .
The function of this representation is to reproduce its own conditions of
existence, in other words to protect the status quo."
The Hollywood film includes among its characteristics a significant ideological
component. Films' images, ideas, and narratives have a normativity to them.
They convey messages that viewers might internalize. Many American viewers,
both in the 1950s and even today, let these messages wash over them as somehow
true. As a result, Robert Ray asserts, American cinema is
"one of the most potent ideological tools ever constructed."
Legal films from the 1950s and early 1960s are no exception, and in more
specific terms they serve up a particular law-related ideology. The
representation is not new, drawing as it does from a venerable American notion
that our nation, among the world's nations, is one with a particular degree of
faithfulness to the rule of law. Thomas Paine, after all, in Common Sense,
n38 told disgruntled colonists that in America the law could be king.
n39 Many of the Founding Fathers shared Paine's sentiments, and Alexis de
Tocqueville, the French aristocrat who toured the United States in the 1830s,
commented at length on the nation's faith in law.
n40 Law and a belief in law are cast as something noble and particularly American.
[*1483] The group of legal films being critiqued in this Essay is one of the most
concentrated and powerful projections of this law-related ideology in American
cultural history. As noted at the outset, the films under consideration are
"golden" in terms of not only the quality of their screenwriting, directing, and acting
but also their presentations of lawyers, trials, and law in general. The films
endorse the rule of law; they inspire belief in that rule of law.
The endorsement is especially evident in two films from the beginning and end
12 Angry Men (1957) and Judgment at Nuremberg (1961). The former was adapted by Reginald
Rose, a highly respected television and film writer, from his own teleplay.
n41 One coworker described Rose as
"on the side of the angels and a little to the left."
n42 His liberal political alignment was later quite evident in the television
series The Defenders, which aired on CBS from 1961 until 1965.
12 Angry Men was the directing debut of Sidney Lumet, who went on to a long and
distinguished directing career.
n44 The film starred
Henry Fonda as the single juror initially unwilling to convict an eighteen-year-old Puerto
Rican of killing his father with a switchblade.
n45 The Fonda character, a stately architect who does not sweat as much as the men
around him, is clearly the film's hero. The rest of the cast featured seasoned
actors including Martin Balsam, Ed Begley, Lee J. Cobb, Jack Klugman, E.G.
Marshall, and Jack Warden. With good reason,
12 Angry Men received Academy Award nominations for best screenplay, director, and movie.
Especially relevant to considerations at hand is the film's powerful evocation
of a legal faith. Almost all of the film takes place in a smoky juror
deliberation room, and as seen through the camera's approving eye, the Fonda
character nobly struggles to win over his fellow jurors. In one dramatic scene,
he displays a switchblade similar to the supposedly unique
[*1484] murder weapon. The resourceful Fonda, it seems, had slipped from the
courthouse and purchased the switchblade, quite in violation of proper juror
conduct. In another powerful scene, the camera slow zooms in on the seated
character as he carefully and calmly explains the standard of guilt beyond a
reasonable doubt. The zoom, awkward for some, underscores the importance of
what is being said and has the effect of bringing us into intimate
communication with the hero.
A few of the jurors share their occupations, but all go unnamed, thereby
emerging as symbolic everymen.
n46 With the coaching of the Fonda character, the jurors one by one overcome their
prejudices and their eagerness to convict. One of the jurors realizes he should
not convict the defendant because of his falling out with his own son. Another
stops worrying about the baseball game for which he has tickets. When the tide
turns against conviction, an especially bigoted juror argues that the facts are
irrelevant when dealing with a minority defendant. This desperate plea not only
fails but also backfires.
At the end, the men find the defendant not guilty, and they exit through the
lobby and down the grand steps of the august courthouse. Their daily lives
await them, but they have demonstrated that under a genuinely honored rule of
law, one can overcome bias and personal demons.
12 Angry Men thus conveys the message that law leads to justice and also suggests that
democracy is most possible under a rule of law.
n47 In Peter Biskind's words,
12 Angry Men is
"in some sense, a film written by ideology."
Produced toward the end of the
"golden age," Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) conveys some of the same ideological messages.
The screenplay was written by Abby Mann, and the film was directed by Stanley
Kramer. In the opinion of Thomas Cripps, the film suffers from
n49 The film's pretentious lumbering is evident in its first three minutes, during
which only the word
"Overture" is projected on the screen while distinctively German music plays. When the
overture ends, three hours and seven minutes more await the viewer. Yet superb
writing and acting make the
[*1485] film powerful and provocative. Abby Mann won an Oscar for the adaptation of
his own teleplay. Maximilian Schell received on Oscar for his portrayal of
defense counsel Hans Rolfe. Spencer Tracy was also nominated for best actor,
while Montgomery Clift and Judy Garland garnered nominations for best
supporting actor and actress.
The dramatic centerpiece of the film is the fictional 1948 trial of four Nazi
judges. Three of the judges are party hacks, but the fourth, Ernst Janning, is
a brilliant legal scholar, a former leader of Weimar Germany, and head of the
Ministry of Justice. We are invited to believe that, like some members of the
traditional German elite and officers' corps, Janning hated Hitler and the
Nazis. We also learn of Janning's disgust for his fellow defendants. Played
with a kind of stoic remorse by Burt Lancaster, the Janning character prompts
Janning and his codefendants are judged from a decidedly American perspective.
Three American judges conduct the trial in the American sector of occupied
Germany, and for reasons that are unclear, a U.S. senator welcomes the judges
and explains their charge. Dan Haywood, the chief judge played by Spencer
Tracy, has a law clerk played by a youthful William Shatner in his pre-Star Trek
n50 days. The clerk opens court each day by saying,
"God Bless the United States and this honorable tribunal."
n51 The defense counsel, although German, quotes Oliver Wendell Holmes. Really,
what we have is a bastardized American proceeding trying four Nazi judges for
violating an American sense of the rule of law.
12 Angry Men, legally questionable events occur in Judgment at Nuremberg. For example, the
prosecutor himself takes the stand and shows the court gruesome footage of the
Nazi concentration camps. But these kinds of Hollywood liberties
notwithstanding, the tribunal's work earns our admiration. Judge Haywood
considers each motion carefully and judiciously. In his chambers, the judge
pours over not only trial briefs and precedents but also Janning's scholarly
works. One work, titled The Meaning of Law, shows Haywood that at one point at
least Janning believed
"what we believe"
n52 - an observation that tends less to exonerate Janning than to underscore his
criminality. When it is time to decide, Haywood tells the other judges they
"legal double-talk" and
n53 Janning and the
[*1486] others are found guilty and are sentenced to life in prison.
n54 They were judges who themselves desecrated the temple of the law.
Judgment at Nuremberg conveys a profound respect for the rule of law. The
American government did not merely use its army to round up the Nazi judges and
put them to death. We tried them. What is more, at the trial, the American
judges did not ride roughshod over the rights of the defendants and rush to
convict. The judges accorded the defendants due process. When some suggested a
growing Communist menace might dictate leniency for former German leaders, the
judges ignored the argument.
"This is what we stand for," Haywood says to the assembled,
"justice, truth and the value of a single human being."
n55 Even Janning, meeting with Haywood in a posttrial conference in a prison cell,
tells the judge that the verdict
"was a just one."
Major American legal films produced between
12 Angry Men and Judgment at Nuremberg conveyed much the same message, but viewers should
not equate this message with the simple idea that under a rule of law, the
guilty are always convicted and the innocent set free. In I Want to Live!, for
example, California party girl Barbara Graham is unfairly charged in the first
place, and a conniving fellow inmate and her boyfriend pressure Graham into
confessing before providing her with a much-needed alibi. Later, they report
her phony confession at trial, thereby helping to secure Graham's conviction.
In Witness for the Prosecution and Anatomy of a Murder, defense counsel have
good reason to conclude that the men they have successfully defended were in
fact guilty as charged. The legal process - even in the Hollywood film - does
not always get things right; it does not always deliver justice.
But still, all the films speak to the possibility of justice under a rule of
law. It is actually achieved in
12 Angry Men and Judgment at Nuremberg. In The Young Philadelphians, an innocent defendant
is set free. In the other films, justice under law is at least a promise.
Duplicitous individuals or community prejudice might in a given case undermine
the rule of law and prevent it from delivering on its promise. Yet, as viewers,
we can clearly see that a true rule of law is desirable. The films assure us
that our aspirations for honest lawyers, reliable courtrooms, and good laws are
appropriate and prudent. The rule of law can and should inspire us.
III. Historicizing the
Given that the major legal films of the late 1950s and early 1960s were rife
with law-related ideology, a question arises: Why were so many important
law-related films produced and distributed in this period? My contention is
that Hollywood grew increasingly determined to assert its
"Americanism." One way to do this was to promote lawyers, legal proceedings, and the rule of
law to a public which had itself become convinced that a faith in law was one
thing that distinguished the United States from the Communist countries,
especially the Soviet Union.
To say that Hollywood was sensitive to issues of its
"Americanism" during the decade following World War II is an understatement indeed. Just as
the War was ending, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce published a report warning
that Communists were trying to take control of the film industry.
n57 Indeed, the report asserted specifically that Communists already dominated the
Screen Writers Guild. Other critics chimed in, and the Motion Picture Alliance
for the Preservation of American Values, an organization of Hollywood
conservatives, warned that Communists were infiltrating the industry.
n58 Responding to these allegations and fears, the United States House of
Representatives Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) decided in 1947 to
conduct hearings regarding subversion in Hollywood.
The congressmen found no shortage of
"friendly" witnesses willing to testify. They included conservative management figures
such as Walt Disney and Louis B. Meyer, and actors Gary Cooper, Robert
Montgomery, George Murphy, Ronald Reagan, and Robert Taylor.
"Unfriendly" witnesses, by contrast, refused to testify, and the famous
"Hollywood Ten" even served prison terms for contempt of Congress.
n59 Some congressmen worried that high-paid Hollywood Communists were contributing
money to the Communist Party. Others thought Hollywood discriminated against
anti-Communist writers and actors. Congressman Richard Nixon's greatest concern
was the shortage of anti-Communist movies being produced in Hollywood.
n60 Nixon urged Hollywood to get on board to help fight the growing Communist
[*1488] menace. Time and again during the testimony and political posturing, one
speaker or another raised the idea of barring Communists completely from
Shortly after the hearings concluded, the film industry began blacklisting
Communists and alleged Communists. Twentieth Century Fox was the first studio
to turn its back on perceived
"Reds," and then the whole motion picture producers association declared,
"We will not knowingly employ a Communist or a member of any party or group
which advocates the overthrow of the government of the United States by force
or by illegal or unconstitutional methods."
n61 Gradually a system of
"clearance" settled into place for the industry, and estimates put the number of those
blacklisted at roughly 200.
n62 The Screen Actors Guild, under the new leadership of actor Ronald Reagan, did
not deplore the blacklist but rather required that its members take a loyalty
Hardly satisfied by the bloodletting and abject cowering, Congress turned again
on the film industry in the 1950s. In 1951, HUAC subpoenaed over 100 witnesses
and demanded that they inform on Hollywood colleagues. The witnesses provided
n64 In 1952, the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee reopened the hearings, and
witnesses provided still more names. Film careers crumbled in the blink of an
eye, while some who had turned on colleagues seem to have been rewarded. For
example, Elia Kazan directed On the Waterfront (1954),
n65 which had been written by Budd Schulberg and starred, among others, Lee J.
Cobb. An Oscar for best film followed even though (or perhaps because) Kazan,
Schulberg, and Cobb had named names.
From our perch almost fifty years later in time, it is difficult to appreciate
the impact the investigations, hysteria, and informing had on Hollywood. Beyond
the individual casualties, films themselves suffered.
"No one in Hollywood was willing to take the slightest chance on anything or
anybody," film historian David A. Cook has written.
"Thus, vitiated, frightened and drained of creative vitality, Hollywood
experienced in miniature what the whole of American society was to experience
during the McCarthy-era witch-hunts - intellectual stagnation
[*1489] and moral paralysis."
n67 According to Robert Sklar, Hollywood films had traditionally been more
iconoclastic than other forms of entertainment,
"offering a version of American behavior and values more risque, violent, comic
and fantastic than the standard interpretation of traditional cultural
elites... . And it was this trait that the anti-Communist crusade destroyed."
"Every movie that was produced," Peter Biskind adds,
"no matter how trivial or apparently escapist, was made in the shadow of the
anti-Communist witch-hunt ... ."
Meanwhile, in the society at large, as McCarthyism's tentacles reached in many
directions, a belief in the rule of law took on added power as a way Americans
could be distinguished from Communists. As previously noted, a belief in the
rule of law and a sense that the nation was defined by its law date back to the
beginning of the Republic. In the 1950s, this national self-impression became
even more powerful than before because of the Cold War. Americans and
especially American ideologues were anxious to distinguish themselves from and
against the Communists. What did the United States have that the Soviet Union
did not? How were Americans different from Communists? One answer, at least
arguably, involved the United States' respect for law and legal institutions.
No single date or even year marks the beginning of this ideological tendency to
identify the Communists
"other" through its purported disrespect for law. However, a range of incidents and
developments from the mid-1950s demonstrate the growth of the tendency. In May
1953, for example, the prestigious International Commission of Jurists urged
American attorneys to launch a crusade against
"the corruption of law for political purposes in Communist countries."
n71 In September of 1955, Harvard University held a conference on
"Government Under Law," which featured an opening address by United States Supreme Court Justice Felix
[*1490] Frankfurter and closing remarks by Chief Justice Earl Warren.
n72 Members of the nation's legal elite attended, and speaker after speaker
reminded the assembly that it was a belief in the rule of law that made the
United States special. In 1958 the American Bar Association, under the
leadership of President Charles S. Rhyne, began presenting
"Gavel Awards" to books, magazine articles, newspaper reports, television shows, and films
that fostered public awareness of the law and of America's system of justice.
The first film to receive an award was
12 Angry Men.
Before long, a drive began to convert general ideological sentiments into
something more formal, into a government declaration of sorts. In particular,
eager ideologues proposed a national holiday to be called
"Law Day." President Dwight D. Eisenhower was receptive to the idea, and on February 5,
1958 he proclaimed that henceforth May 1 of each year would be Law Day, a date
chosen to contrast with the Communist celebration of May Day on the same date.
n74 When May 1 arrived, an estimated 20,000 celebrations and programs were mounted
in schools, courthouses, and organized bar headquarters.
n75 In a statement marking the holiday, Eisenhower said,
"In a very real sense, the world no longer has a choice between force and law.
If civilization is to survive it must choose the rule of law."
n76 Idealogues, it is worth adding, frequently invoke the
"real" or the
"realistic" to bolster their claims.
It is hardly surprising that the film industry would, in the late 1950s,
produce films extolling the rule of law. Hollywood wanted desperately to divert
charges that it was infested with Communists. Led by a much-admired president,
the public had come increasingly to see the American approach to law as one
thing which favorably distinguished the nation from Communist countries. If
Hollywood produced films glorifying law, this could serve the industry's need
to appear patriotic while at the same time tapping into popular sentiment.
Hollywood, parenthetically, also produced and distributed in the period more
than fifty directly and overtly anti-Communist films.
n77 Vice President Richard Nixon received what he had demanded in his days as a
congressman from California. One of the earliest and most creative of the
anti-Communist films, I Was a Communist for the FBI (1951),
n78 was developed
[*1491] into the immensely popular television series I Led Three Lives (1953-1956).
n79 The film and the television series featured the character Herbert T.
Philbrick. He worked as a Boston advertising man, was a member of the Communist
Party, and - most importantly - served as a counterespionage agent for the FBI.
The television series had J. Edgar Hoover's endorsement, and the FBI approved
n80 Other anti-Communist films were less original and had no formal stamp of
approval. Some simply borrowed from World War II espionage movies, replacing
dastardly Nazis with equally dastardly Communists. Others such as The FBI Story
n81 cast Communists as gangsters. Whatever the case, these films
"pleased neither the public nor the critics, and did badly at the box office."
The difference between public reactions to these films and to the legal films
further clarifies the distinction between propaganda and ideology mentioned
earlier in this Essay. The industry foisted the overt anti-Communist films on
the public in keeping with an industry agenda. The legal films, meanwhile, were
more genuinely integrated with popular attitudes and beliefs. No conniving
meetings had to be held behind closed doors at the Hollywood studios. Excellent
writers, directors, and actors came willingly to the legal film projects, and
the public and critics, themselves enamored with a rule of law ideology,
delighted in the films once they were released.
Hollywood blacklists and the general perception of a Communist threat are
things of the past, but the legal films of the late 1950s and early 1960s are
still culturally and politically significant today. Beyond their availability
as video rentals, the films remain important cultural exemplars for American
legal film and television. Many contemporary pop cultural works continue to
draw on the conventions the films established. The
"golden age" films and the subsequent films and television series they inspired also
continue to represent and contribute to law-related American
[*1492] ideology. Cynicism about lawyers and the legal system notwithstanding, a
majority of Americans believe in the rule of law, and ideologues of all
political affiliations are able to call up and draw upon this belief.
In the cultural realm, the term exemplar refers to an individual pop cultural
work or a group of works that becomes a norm, the success of which prompts
subsequent attempts to replicate or resemble the exemplar. As noted at the
beginning of this Essay, films with legal content were a part of American
cinema since virtually its founding. However, it was the films of the late
1950s and early 1960s that established the now classic tale of noble and
articulate lawyers representing deserving clients, primarily in courtroom
trials. Television's Perry Mason
n83 series, itself preceded by novels, movies, and a radio drama featuring the
same character, also helped establish the cultural norm.
Literally hundreds of later films and television series followed, continuing
right up to the present with the likes of A Civil Action (1998)
n85 on the large screen and the practice (1997-current)
n86 on television. These films and television series might have a grittier veneer
than works from the 1950s. They might include fictionalized plea-bargaining and
work their way to unhappy, imperfect compromises. They might even revolve
around civil trials, albeit ones with features more typical of a criminal
proceeding. But the images of lawyers, courts, and the law in these works
generally mimic the images in earlier works from the
Even films and television series that poke fun at the dominant law-related
tales rely on the exemplars. In Woody Allen's Bananas (1971),
n87 for example, Fielding Melish races back and forth from the witness stand to
defense counsel's table examining himself. At a later point, Melish breaks down
a hostile witness on the stand even though he, Melish, is gagged and able to
make only muffled sounds. These scenes are humorous in large part because they
play off familiar images of the heroic defense lawyer prevailing in the
dramatic courtroom trial. Similarly, the goofy lawyers and their hijinks at
trial in Ally McBeal (1997-current)
n88 would fall flat without the power and influence of legal films from forty
years ago. The comic effect of parody is impossible without a standard to mock.
[*1493] In addition, the ideological power of the
"golden age" films lives on. The Soviet Union has collapsed, and the Communist presence in
the world grows smaller every day. But it is worth remembering that the
American version of the Cold War had distinctive heroes as well as villains.
While communism and the Communists were the latter, the American way of life,
its representative democracy, and its market economy were the heroes. These
socioeconomic configurations were both prepared to defend the
"Free World" and were worthy of emulation. Law, lawyers, and legal institutions buoyed the
other parts of the system, and a belief in the rule of law was not peripheral
to, but rather at the center of, the dominant American ideology.
These sentiments might seem quaint in the world of postmodern academics, but
they remain powerful in American politics and political commentary. In
explaining to the American public the launching of a war with Iraq, President
George Bush in 1991 contrasted our nation's belief in a rule of law with Iraq's
dangerous embodiment of the
"law of the jungle."
n89 In the domestic setting, pundits and politicians routinely and often
unthinkingly invoked the rule of law during the Bill Clinton impeachment
proceedings and during the 2000 presidential election dispute involving Florida
votes. Admittedly, both sides in both controversies asserted that the rule of
law supported their positions, but this does not negate the commitment to a
rule of law as a dominant American ideological premise.
The legal films of the late 1950s and early 1960s in and of themselves hardly
explain this phenomenon. American ideologues championed their nation's
commitment to a rule of law before and after the films were popular. However,
if we scrutinize the legal films as exemplars of law-related popular culture
and as ideological constructs, we will be better able to develop the type of
critical consciousness necessary in the contemporary setting. Exemplars are not
necessarily exemplary. Ideology should be poked and prodded and exposed for
what it is. With regard to law and in general, critical contemplation of the
pop culture which is increasingly becoming our whole culture is crucial to an
active, self-actualizing political life.
n1. Falsely Accused! (Biography Co. 1908).
n2. Carol J. Clover discusses Falsely Accused in Carol J. Clover,
"God Bless Juries!", in Refiguring American Film Genres: History and Theory 257 (Nick Browne ed.,
n3. Elmer Rice, On Trial (1917)
n4. On Trial (The Essaynay Film Mfg. Co. 1917).
n5. On Trial (Warner Bros. 1928).
n6. On Trial (Warner Bros. 1939). See Roger Dooley, From Scarface to Scarlett:
American Films in the 1930s, at 311 (1981).
n7. Counsellor at Law (Universal Pictures 1933).
n8. See Counsellor at Law, in
The Motion Picture Guide, C-D 491 (Jay Robert Nash
& Stanley Ralph Ross eds., 1985).
12 Angry Men (Orion-Nova Productions
& United Artists 1957).
n10. Witness for the Prosecution (United Artists 1957).
n11. I Want to Live! (Figaro Films
& United Artists 1958).
n12. Anatomy of a Murder (Carlyle Productions
& Columbia Pictures 1959).
n13. The Young Philadelphians (Warner Bros. 1959).
n14. Compulsion (20th Century Fox 1959).
n15. Inherit the Wind (Lomitas Productions, Inc. 1960).
n16. Judgment at Nuremberg (Roxlom
& United Artists 1961).
n17. To Kill a Mockingbird (Universal International Pictures 1962).
n18. See Francis M. Nevins, Law, Lawyers and Justice in Popular Fiction and Film,
Human. Educ., May 1984, at 4.
n19. Thomas J. Harris, Courtroom's Finest Hour in American Cinema, at xiii (1987).
Thomas Harris has chapters regarding eight films. He does not include The Young
Philadelphians and To Kill a Mockingbird, two films from my list, but he does,
somewhat curiously, have a chapter on The Verdict (20th Century Fox 1982).
n20. Anthony Chase, Lawyers and Popular Culture: A Review of Mass Media Portrayals
of American Attorneys,
1986 Am. B. Found. Res. J. 281, 284.
n21. I compiled my figures on Academy Awards from lists in The Macmillan
International Film Encyclopedia 3-7 (Ephraim Katz ed., 1998). I did not count
in my totals Susan Hayward's Oscar for Best Actress for her work in I Want to
n22. See Paul Bergman
& Michael Asimow, Reel Justice: The Courtroom Goes to the Movies 10 (1996).
n23. See Fred J. Cook, The Nightmare Decade: The Life and Legal Times of Senator
Joe McCarthy 517-18 (1971).
"Robert Traver" was the pen name of Judge John D. Voelker.
n25. Introduction, Anatomy of a Murder (St. Martin's Press Commemorative Edition,
n26. See Timothy Hoff, Anatomy of a Murder, 24 Legal Stud. F. 661, 661 (2000).
n27. Judgment at Nuremberg, supra note 16.
n28. I contrast the importance of plea-bargaining in the real-life criminal process
with its virtual absence in pop culture in David Ray Papke, The American
Courtroom Trial: Pop Culture, Courthouse Realities, and the Dream World of
40 S. Tex. L. Rev. 919, 926 (1999).
n29. Excellent stills showing the courtrooms in The Young Philadelphians and
Compulsion appear in Bergman
& Asimow, supra note 22, at 310, 114.
n30. Scholars decades ago commented on the theatrical aspects of the courtroom and
the courtroom trial. See generally Milner S. Ball, The Play's the Thing: An
Unscientific Reflectic on Courts Under the Rubric of Theater,
28 Stan. L. Rev. 81 (1975); John E. Simonett, The Trial as One of the Performing Arts,
52 A.B.A. J. 1145 (1966).
n31. Carol J. Clover, Law and the Order of Popular Culture, in Law in the Domains
of Culture 103 (Austin Sarat
& Thomas R. Kearns eds., 1998).
n32. To Kill a Mockingbird, supra note 17. As inspiring as the words are, they lack
the sharper edge of Harper Lee's original novel. In the novel's closing Atticus
But there is one way in this country in which all men are created equal - there
is one human institution that makes a pauper the equal of a Rockefeller, the
stupid man the equal of an Einstein, and the ignorant man the equal of any
college president. That institution, gentlemen, is a court.
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird 209 (1960).
n33. Janet Malcolm has noted that real-life lawyers completely abandon their
dramatic courtroom posturing when they meet privately for a conference with the
presiding judge. See Janet Malcolm, The Side-Bar Conference, in Law's Stories:
Narrative and Rhetoric in the Law 106, 108 (Peter Brooks
& Paul Gewirtz eds., 1996).
n34. Alan Dershowitz has contrasted the way all pieces of evidence and plot
developments ultimately fit together in the traditional play with the way
real-life defense counsel often present pieces of evidence and events merely to
make a case seem more complex and confusing. See Alan M. Dershowitz, Life Is
Not a Dramatic Narrative, in Law's Stories: Narrative and Rhetoric in the Law,
supra note 33, at 99, 99-100. If, in general, we find differences between
cinematic trials and actual ones, it is because we have
"representation of one important cultural practice in the signifying terms of
another." David A. Black, Law in Film: Resonance and Representation 2 (1999).
n35. See Hayden White, Tropics of Discourse 1-2 (1978).
n36. Mike Cormack, Ideology and Cinematography in Hollywood, 1930-39, at 9 (1994).
n37. Robert B. Ray, A Certain Tendency of the Hollywood Cinema, 1930-1980, at 55
(1985). For an extended discussion of ideology and film, see Bill Nichols,
Ideology and the Image (1981).
n38. See Id. at 32.
n39. Thomas Paine, Common Sense, in Common Sense and Other Political Writings
(Nelson F. Adkins ed., Liberal Arts Press 1953) (1835).
n40. See Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America 207-08 (Harper
& Row 1968).
n41. Reginald Rose was one of the most prolific television writers of the 1950s. He
wrote his original teleplay for
12 Angry Men for Westinghouse's Studio One (CBS television broadcast, 1948-1958). See David
Ray Papke, The Defenders, in Prime Time Law: Fictional Television as Legal
Narrative 3, 4 (Robert M. Jarvis
& Paul R. Joseph eds., 1998).
n42. Mark T. Alvey, Series Drama and the
"Semi-Anthology": Sixties Television in Transition 8 (1995) (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation,
University of Texas) (on file with author).
n43. The Defenders (CBS television broadcast, 1961-1965); see also Papke, supra
note 41, at 3-15.
n44. Sidney Lumet had worked during the 1950s directing television dramas for Kraft
Television Theater (NBC television broadcast, 1947-1958), Playhouse 90 (CBS
television broadcast, 1956-1961), and Studio One, supra note 41. His
law-related films from later in his career include Serpico (Paramount Pictures
& Produzion De Laurentis 1973), Dog Day Afternoon (Artists Entertainment Complex
1975), and The Verdict (20th Century Fox 1982). See 2 International Dictionary
of Films and Filmmakers 342-43 (Christopher Lyon ed., 1984).
n45. The defendant is never specifically identified as a Puerto Rican, but he
appears Latin when shown in the film's short trial scene. Bigoted jurors also
attack him as a minority member.
Henry Fonda's character goes without a name throughout almost all of the film. At the very
end, as he leaves the courthouse, he tells one of the other jurors that his
"Davis," a predictably WASPy choice.
n47. One scholar suggests that the film's
"jury deliberations may even provide a microcosm of a larger democratic process." Norman Rosenberg, Hollywood on Trials: Courts and Films, 1930-1960,
12 Law & Hist. Rev. 341, 347 (1994).
n48. Peter Biskind, Seeing Is Believing: How Hollywood Taught Us to Stop Worrying
and Love the Fifties 15 (1983).
n49. Thomas Cripps, Hollywood's High Noon: Moviemaking
& Society Before Television 224 (1997).
n50. Star Trek (NBC television broadcast, 1966-1969).
n51. Judgment at Nuremberg, supra note 16.
n54. One of the three judges is apparently prepared to find the defendants not
guilty, but the camera cuts away before we can hear his dissent.
n55. Judgment at Nuremberg, supra note 16.
n57. See Robert Sklar, Movie-made America: A Social History of American Movies
n58. See id. at 257.
"Hollywood Ten" were screenwriters Alvah Bessie, Lester Cole, Ring Lardner, Jr., John Howard
Lawson, Albert Maltz, Samuel Ornitz, Adrian Scott, and Dalton Trumbo, and
directors Herbert Biberman and Edward Dmytryk. They were found in contempt of
Congress for refusing to say if they were or ever had been members of the
n60. See Sklar, supra note 57, at 261.
n61. This declaration from the fifty members of the Motion Picture Association of
America came in the period to be called the
"Waldorf Statement." See David A. Cook, A History of Narrative Film 474 (1990).
n62. See Sklar, supra note 57, at 266.
n63. See Cook, supra note 61, at 475.
n64. See id.
n65. On the Waterfront (Columbia Pictures 1954).
n66. See Cook, supra note 61, at 476.
n67. Id. at 477.
n68. Sklar, supra note 57, at 267.
n69. Biskind, supra note 48, at 4.
n70. Leo Marx has noted, in discussing the founding of the influential American
Studies Program at the University of Minnesota during this period, that the
program presumed the nation's distinctiveness. The program
assumed the importance of such singular political innovations as a written
constitution; the rule of law; federalism; a commitment to the idea that
government rests on the consent of the governed; and the notion (as Lincoln put
it at Gettysburg), that the United States is a nation defined neither by its
location nor its ethnic composition, but rather by a
"proposition" - a cosmopolitan, multicultural, potentially universalizable set of principles.
Leo Marx, Reflections on American Studies, Minnesota, and the 1950s, Am.
Stud., Summer 1999, at 39, 43.
n71. World Jurists Ask Help Against Reds, N.Y. Times, May 5, 1953, at 17.
n72. See Warren Will Pay Marshall Honor, N.Y. Times, Sept. 18, 1955, at 12.
n73. See Div. for Pub. Educ., ABA, 40th Anniversary Gavel Awards for Media and the
Arts 2 (Charles White
& Howard Kaplan eds., 1997).
n74. See May 1 to Be
"Law Day," N.Y. Times, Feb. 5, 1958, at 8.
n75. See President Calls Law Key to World Peace, N.Y. Times, May 1, 1958, at 14.
n77. See Cook, supra note 61, at 515.
n78. I Was a Communist for the FBI (Warner Bros. 1951).
n79. I Led Three Lives (nationally syndicated television broadcast, 1953-1956); see
The Complete Guide to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present 491
& Earle Marsh eds., 1995).
n80. See The Complete Guide To Prime Time Network And Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present,
supra note 78.
"In later episodes, as the writers began to run out of material, the stories
strayed further and further from actual events. One episode even had the
Commies plotting to undermine the U.S. guided-missile program by converting
vacuum cleaners into bomb launchers." Id.
n81. The FBI Story (Warner Bros. 1959).
n82. Biskind, supra note 48, at 3.
n83. Perry Mason (CBS television broadcast, 1957-1966).
n84. A recent volume tracing the evolution of the Perry Mason character in fiction,
radio, film and television is J. Dennis Bounds, Perry Mason: The Authorship and
Reproduction of a Popular Hero (1996). It is the television series, in
particular, which dovetails with the films under consideration in lionizing
lawyers, trials, and the law in general.
n85. A Civil Action (Paramount Pictures et al. 1998).
n86. the practice (ABC television broadcast, 1997-current).
n87. Bananas (United Artists et al. 1971).
n88. Ally McBeal (Fox Network television broadcast, 1997-current).
n89. Strobe Talbott, The Gulf War, Time, Jan. 28, 1991, at 14.
Prepared: June 16, 2003 - 5:02:29 PM
Edited and Updated, June 17, 2003
Philosophy of Law