Charles Laughton, 1999-1962, was the brilliant, bisexual and tortured actor who appeared in more than 50 films, most from 1933, after giving up a career as a manager at his parent’s Scarborough hotel, the Pavilion, now demolished.
Laughton graced a number of memorable roles as a monster or misfit which included Captain Bligh in Mutiny on the Bounty, Quasimodo in the Hunchback of Notre Dame, Doctor Moreau in The Island of Lost Souls and Henry VIII in The Private Life of Henry VIII. Another memorable role was as crusty and eccentric lawyer, Sir Wilfrid Robarts in Witness For The Prosecution, based on an Agatha Christie play and directed by Billy Wilder in 1957.
In this Laughton is joined by Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich and his future wife Elsa Lancaster, and he puts in, according to one critic, “a performance of epic extravagance, invention and downright hamminess” which made him, once again, one of the most watchable actors on the screen. For those who enjoy courtroom dramas this is arguably one of the best around, with one of the best shock endings.
Witness For The Prosecution has been released by Eureka Entertainment for the first time in a Blu-Ray format as part of its Masters of Cinema series with video interviews, archive footage of director Billy Wilder discussing the film and audio commentary.