Leonard Vole: But I've done nothing! This is England! You don't get arrested or convicted for something you haven't done!
Sir Wilfred: We try not to make a habit of it.
A short story by Agatha Christie
, made into a 1957 film.
Leonard Stephen Vole, an amiable and good-natured blood donor with an excellent war record, has been charged with murder. The victim: Miss Emily French, a lonely but wealthy widow with whom Leonard had become friendly recently. Unfortunately for Leonard, it is revealed that Miss French had left Leonard eighty thousand pounds, making for quite a motive. Leonard's case rests entirely on circumstantial evidence, and his acquittal relies on the testimony of his cold and calculating German wife, Christine Vole, who is the only person who can provide an alibi. Leonard and his solicitor seek the advice of London's best and most experienced barrister, Sir Wilfred Robarts, who takes Leonard's case himself despite his rapidly deteriorating health.
What follows is a three-day trial, during which time the prosecution makes a convincing case for Leonard's guilt and Sir Wilfred attempts to prove his innocence. After some time, a surprise witness is called, and twist after twist keeps everyone in the courtroom - and the audience - on the edge of their seats.
The film version was directed by Billy Wilder
and starred Tyrone Power as Leonard, Marlene Dietrich
as Christine and Charles Laughton
as Sir Wilfred. Tyrone Power's last film, as he suffered a fatal heart attack on the set of his next production, Solomon And Sheba
Incidentally, as this film is over 50 years old, nothing below is spoiler-tagged. If you ever plan to see it, don't read anything further.
This film provides examples of: