A boy haunted by nightmares about the night his entire family was murdered is brought up by a neighboring family in the 1880s. He falls for his lovely adoptive sister but his nasty adoptive brother and mysterious uncle want him dead.
Judge Cooke, good husband and father, is known in court as Old Man Maximum. Cooke's daughter loves defender Dave Douglas, who hates Cooke's attitude toward defendants. Cooke's life shatters when he learns his wife has terminal brain cancer; as her pain worsens, he begins to consider mercy-killing, but that would place him in the position of a defendant.Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
"Nemo me impune lacessit," the Latin phrase quoted by Judge Wilder during the dinner party, means "No one attacks me unpunished." It is the motto of the Scottish Order of the Thistle, and is also used on certain Scottish and British royal coats of arms. See more »
While the setting was Pennsylvania, the outdoor highway scenes were obviously shot in California. See more »
There's something quite remarkable at the heart of this honest and direct portrayal of a very human crisis. The leads here - Frederic March and Florence Eldridge, real-life husband and wife - are completely and thoroughly a middle-aged couple and depicted as such, in all their wrinkles and folds and reflections on lives that have been lived. It's a reminder that the two kinds of people we see in movies are the very young and beautiful and the very old. The Cookes here are seemingly fully filled in, a husband and wife with grown children, in the midst of real lives, inhabiting their marriage with the deep love that is far beyond the romantic love that's the staple of motion pictures. This isn't the dashing Frederic March of the 1930s but a mature, restrained father and husband. It's a bit melodramatic at times - director Michael Gordon is a journeyman professional and not William Wyler, director of the great film of that era starring March, The Best Years of Our LIves. But watch for the details, such as the sharp, discordant strings stabbing along as windshield wipers swipe across the screen. I think I saw that in another movie made a few years later.
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