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Anatomy of a Murder

Cast
James Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara, Arthur O'Connell
Released
1959
Jimmy Stewart
Spoiler alert
Blog entry

Attorney Paul interviews murder defendant Manion, "The newspapers say your wife volunteered to take a lie detector test." (0:18)

Manion tells Paul, "I must have been mad... I mean, I must have been crazy." (0:23)

Manion tells Paul, "I tried remembering. There were some pieces missing... don't remember anything else, not even going home... I remember hearing shots... seemed far away, like somebody else was doing the shooting."  (0:36)

Manion tells Paul, "I've got my defense now, right? Insanity." Paul tells Manion, "We're going to need a psychiatrist." (0:37)

Paul tells district attorney Mitch, "... a great big fat lie detector test on his wife has given proof to the rape story." Mitch tells Paul, "The results of a lie detector test isn't admissible evidence." (0:39)

Paul tells Manion's wife Laura, "You might be interested to know that your lie detector test turned out in your favor." (0:41)

Paul tells bartender Paquette after he offers him a drink, "I don't have the shakes yet." (0:45)

Paul tells Judge Weaver, "The defendant is in Detroit being examined by a psychiatrist... it was very urgent that we get the defendant to the psychiatrist." (1:00)

When Paul asks Manion about the psychiatrist's opinion, he replies, "I was temporarily insane... He said that when I shot Quill I was suffering from 'dissociative reaction.'... It means 'I had an irresistible impulse to shoot Quill.'" Paul asks Manion, "What did he say about your knowing the difference between right and wrong when you shot Quill?" (1:02)

Attorney Parnell asks Paul, "You ever heard of a Michigan court accepting 'irresistible impulse' as insanity?" (1:03)

Parnell reads to Paul from a law book, "People versus Durfee, 62, Michigan, 486, Year 1886." Paul finds it in his book and reads, "The right and wrong test, though condemned as being unscientific, is adhered to by most of the states, but... the fact that one accused of committing a crime may have been able to comprehend the nature and the consequences of this act and to know that it was wrong, nevertheless... if he was forced to its execution by an impulse... which he was powerless to control, he will be excused from punishment.' The Michigan Supreme Court did accept irresistible impulse, Parn. This is precedent..." (1:04)

Prosecutor Dancer tells Judge Weaver, "Since the defense plea is insanity the prosecution has retained a psychiatrist. Under the statute we have a right to petition for a mental examination of the defendant by our own doctor." (1:08)

Outside the courtroom Paul implores his secretary Maida, inquiring about Parnell's absence: "He hasn't fallen off the wagon..." Maida replies, "No. He was sober." (1:15)

Mitch introduces the "people's psychiatrist," Dr. Harcourt, to the court. (1:16)

Mitch tells the court, "The defendant's plea is one of insanity..." (1:24)

Mitch tells the court, "The burden is on the defense to prove temporary insanity at the time of the shooting. Now, if the reason for the alleged insanity is important to this case then that is a matter for a competent witness, an expert on the subject of the human mind. (1:31)

On the witness stand Manion tells the court, "I don't remember shooting him." (1:55)

On the witness stand Dancer cross-examines Manion: "Were you ever treated for shell shock, battle fatigue, or any war neurosis or psychosis? (1:58)

Parnell meets Dr. Smith, the defense psychiatrist, at the train (2:13)

Paul examines Dr. Smith on the witness stand: "Doctor, have you formed an opinion as to Frederick Manion's mental and emotional state at the time he killed Barney Quill?
Smith: "He was temporarily insane at the time of the shooting."
Paul: "At the time of the shooting did you believe that he was able to distinguish right from wrong?"
Smith: "He may or may not have been. It doesn't make too much difference."
Paul: "... will you explain Frederick Manion's temporary insanity?"
Smith: "It is known as dissociative reaction, a psychic shock which creates an almost overwhelming tension which the person in shock must alleviate."
Paul: "Is there another name for dissociative reaction that we might recognize?"
Smith: "Yes, it has been known as irresistible impulse."
Dancer cross-examines: "... did you find any psychosis in Frederick Manion?"
Smith: "I did not."
Dancer: "Any neuroses?"
Smith: "I found no history of neuroses."
Dancer: "Any history of delusion?"
Smith: "None."
Dancer: "Loss of memory?"
Smith: "Not before this instance."
Dancer: "Did you find any history of conversion... Did you mean that at the time of the shooting he could have known the difference between right and wrong?"
Smith: "He might have, yes."
Dancer: "Dr. Smith, if the defendant could have known what he was doing and could have known that it was wrong, how can you come here and testify that he was legally insane?"
Smith: "I'm not saying he was legally insane." (2:14)

Dancer examines Dr. Harcourt. Dr. Harcourt tells the court, "I'm the medical superintendent of the Bonder State Hospital for the Insane."
Dancer: "It's been stated here that dissociative reaction, or irresistible impulse is not uncommon among soldiers in combat..."
Harcourt: "Dissociative reaction is not something that comes out of the blue and disappears as quickly. It can only occur, even among soldiers in combat, if the individual has a psychoneurotic condition of long-standing."
Dancer: "It's been testified hear that a psychiatric examination of the defendant showed no evidence of neuroses and no history of dissociative reaction... have you formed an opinion about the defendant's sanity on the night of the shooting?"
Harcourt: "I'm of the opinion that he was in sufficient possession of his faculties so that he was not dominated by his unconscious mind."
Dancer: "In other words, he was not in the grip of irresistible impulse."
Harcourt: "In my opinion, he was not."
Paul cross-examines: "Dr. Harcourt, psychiatry is an effort to probe into the dark undiscovered world of the mind. And in there the world might be round; it could be square. Your opinion could be wrong. Dr. Smith's could be right. Isn't that true?"
Harcourt: "I'd be a poor doctor if I didn't agree with that. But I believe my opinion to be right."
Paul: "Do you think you might have changed your opinion if you had examined the defendant as Dr. Smith did?"
Harcourt: "I don't believe so."
Paul: "But Dr. Smith's opinion was made under better circumstances, wasn't it?"
Harcourt: "If you mean that he was able to examine the man, yes." (2:19)