powered by AFI
When his son accidentally kills someone, a lawyer must defend the man wrongly charged with the murder.
After accidentally killing his best friend, Art Bradley, in self-defense outside of a tavern, law student David Clark flees the scene of the crime. Eventually he returns home, where he finds his parents entertaining his father Howard's law partner, Donald Muir, and Art's mother Sybil, their neighbor. Realizing it would look unusual if he avoided their company, David joins his parents and plays cards with Sybil. Later, Howard receives a telephone call regarding Art's murder and privately tells his wife Ellen. Later after informing Sybil, Howard describes Art's death, as David listens uneasily before retiring to his room in a turmoil of indecision. When Howard comes to David's room to ask him whether he had seen Art that evening, he is shocked when David abruptly confesses to the killing. David explains that Art was very drunk and made accusations against David about Art's girl friend, Vera Stone. David grew frightened when Art attacked him with a knife in the parking lot and during the struggle he struck Art with a heavy rock, but had no intention of killing him. Howard assures David that District Attorney George Redman, a friend of the family, will believe his story and treat David fairly. When David hesitates, however, Howard indicates that it is up to David to decide what action to take. Ellen comes to David's room and Howard insists she must be told, despite David's reluctance. Ellen immediately insists that a confession would do little good, but only serve to ruin David's life. Again in a quandary, David asks to have until the next morning to make up his mind. The following day, Howard is relieved when David agrees to go to Redman's office, but is stunned when David merely asks the district attorney if he can help in any way. Redman reveals that a suspect has just been apprehended, Joe Elsner, a well-known bookie to whom Art owed money. Back at home, Howard remains disgusted with David's behavior. At Howard's law office, where David has a summer clerkship, Mrs. Elsner asks to meet with Howard, but he brushes her off. That evening Howard's secretary, Lee Pearson, dines with the Clarks before working with Howard, then accompanying David on a walk. Although attracted to David, Lee resists involvement with him because of his spoiled nature. On his return to the house, David finds Mrs. Elsner about to ring the bell and brings her inside. She requests that Howard defend her husband, but he refuses, professing to have given up criminal law. Howard remains intractable, and after Mrs. Elsner departs, Ellen and David react angrily, claiming Howard could see to it that Elsner would be acquitted. Eventually Howard gives in and represents Elsner. At the trial, David assists Howard and sits at the defense table next to Elsner. Redman's most significant witness is Mr. Sims, who testifies to overhearing an argument between Art and Elsner in the tavern parking lot. Howard believes the testimony may be coached and orders an investigation of Sims. At Ellen's annual birthday party at the Clarks, David drinks heavily and makes a crude pass at Lee, who slaps him. Later David leaves the party with Vera, but returns the next morning worried about Lee. At the office he apologizes to Lee for his behavior. A couple of days later Howard receives the results of the investigation of Sims, which indicate that he was convicted of perjury years earlier and served his time in a mental institution. Although he knows this information will acquit Elsner, David is nevertheless angry that Howard is disturbed that events have gone this far because of David's inaction. Tense and frustrated, David resolves to leave town and give up law school, but asks Lee to accompany him. Realizing something is amiss, Lee refuses, yet counsels David that if he has problems, running away will not solve them. Although irritated by her refusal, David changes his mind about leaving, wanting to remain near Lee. Later, in court, Elsner is questioned severely by Redman and grows increasingly distressed. The trial is halted when Elsner begins suffering from chest pains and shortly thereafter dies of a heart attack in the judge's chambers. That night, the Clark home is filled with tension. When David storms off to his room after admitting that his behavior has now caused another death, Howard laments that he and Ellen have reared a thoughtless and irresponsible son. Meanwhile, David visits Lee and over an informal dinner, claims he has recognized his character flaws and has changed. When he proposes to her, Lee hesitates and David asks her to wait until she can see his change of character. Lee agrees, observing that David has always been honest, if spoiled. Disturbed, David escorts Lee home, only to return a moment later to confess to Art's murder and declare they can never marry. That evening Howard offers to send David on a trip anywhere in the world, but David announces his intention to see Redman the next day. The following morning Lee accompanies David to the district attorney's office. After his confession and arrest, a relieved David tells Lee he might be out of jail in two years, and she agrees to wait for him.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||not available|
|Release Date:||1951||Production Date:||
|Color/B&W:||Distributions Co:||Columbia Pictures Corp.|
|Sound:||Production Co:||Santana Pictures, Inc.|
Leonard Maltin Ratings & Review
LEONARD MALTIN MOVIE RATING
LEONARD MALTIN MOVIE REVIEW:
User Ratings & Review
This title has not been reviewed. Be the FIRST to write a review by CLICKING HERE >
User Ratings & Review