Review: Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt is a classic film noir from 1956 starring Dana Andrews and Joan Fontaine.  The real story here is this is the last American movie from noir great, Fritz Lang.  I got to say Lang went out with a bang.  This is an intriguing story with a great ending.  This story is written by Douglas Morrow and is amazing.

Dana Andrews is a novelist and ex-newspaperman.  He is dating Fontaine who happens to be the daughter of his ex-boss. His ex-boss and future father-in-law is the owner of a large newspaper.  His future father-in-law is played by Sidney Blackmer.

We open the movie with an execution, yes somebody goes to the chair in the opening scene.  The next scene has Blackmer and Andrews having a drink and discusses capital punishment.  They meet Philip Bourneuf who plays the D.A. responsible for the death sentence we witnessed at the beginning of the film.  Bourneuf and Blackmer are on opposite sides of the capital punishment fence.  Blackmer talks about ways to convert the public to his side of the subject, he only needs the right circumstance.  The right circumstance soon comes up!  A burlesque dancer is found murdered and there is no suspects.  Blackmer talks Andrews into framing himself with the crime.  Then when he is sentenced to death, they will bring out all the evidence they planted and of course the how, when and where they did it.  This proves they sentenced an innocent man to death and will show the public how capital punishment is a bad idea.  Well if your like me, this whole thing sounds like a bad idea!  Will they plant enough evidence to get arrested?  If he does get convicted will they be able to reverse the verdict before it is too late?  What will Andrews’ girl Fontaine think of this when she finds out what is going on?

This is another great noir from Fritz Lang, he was definitely on his game for his last American film, before he goes back to his homeland of Germany.   It is worth watching for any of his fans and fans of classic noir.  Fontaine and Andrews fans will love this as well.  This film has an amazing ending that you will not see coming.

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