Witness for the Prosecution Overview:

Witness for the Prosecution (1957) was a Crime - Drama Film directed by Billy Wilder and produced by Arthur Hornblow Jr. and Edward Small.

The film was based on the short story Traitor Hands written by Agatha Christie published in Flynn's Weekly and as a Play (Jan 1925 (magazine) and Dec 16, 1954 - Jun 30, 1956 (play performed at Henry Miller's Theatre, NY)).


Wilder pumps up the pace of Agatha Christie's play and adds even more suspense in a twisty, impossible-to-predict mystery. Laughton is ready to retire his barrister's wig at his wife Lanchester's insistence when a colleague presents him with an intriguing murder case involving drifter Power and the murder of a wealthy widow. Power's only alibi is his wife, Dietrich, and she's not the witness either Power or Laughton expects. A terrific, engaging whodunit.

(Source: available at Amazon AMC Classic Movie Companion).


Academy Awards 1957 --- Ceremony Number 30 (source: AMPAS)

Best ActorCharles LaughtonNominated
Best Supporting ActressElsa LanchesterNominated
Best DirectorBilly WilderNominated
Best Film EditingDaniel MandellNominated
Best PictureArthur Hornblow, Jr., ProducerNominated

BlogHub Articles:

Tyrone Power heads the cast in “Witness for the Prosecution”

By Stephen Reginald on May 22, 2023 From Classic Movie Man

Tyrone Power heads the cast in “Witness for the Prosecution” Witness for the Prosecution (1957) is an American mystery thriller directed by Billy Wilder and starring Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, and Charles Laughton. The supporting cast includes Elsa Lanchester, John Williams, He... Read full article

DOUBLE BILL #13: Witness for the Prosecution (1957) and 12 Angry Men (1957)

By Carol Martinheira on Apr 12, 2018 From The Old Hollywood Garden

DOUBLE BILL #13: Witness for the Prosecution (1957) and 12 Angry Men (1957) On April 12, 2018 By CarolIn Uncategorized Courtroom dramas never disappoint. They?re tense, gripping, dramatic and emotional and, more often than not, they grab you by the throat and they don?... Read full article

Witness for the Prosecution (1982 TVM)

By John Grant on Nov 16, 2016 From Noirish

UK, US / 102 minutes / color / United Artists Dir: Alan Gibson Pr: Norman Rosemont Scr: John Gay Story: ?Traitor?s Hands? (1925 Flynn?s Weekly) and Witness for the Prosecution (1953 play), both by Agatha Christie, and the screenplay for Witness for the Prosecution (1957) by Billy Wilder, Harry Kurni... Read full article

Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

By Beatrice on Jun 10, 2016 From Flickers in Time

Witness for the Prosecution Directed by Billy Wilder Written by Billy Wilder and Harry Kurnitz; adapted by Lawrence B. Marcus from the play by Agatha Christie 1957/USA Edward Small Productions/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Repeat viewing/Amazon Instant I don’t know how this courtroom drama missed the... Read full article

Witness for the Prosecution, Happy Anniversary! A Delicious Treat Served, February 6th, 1958?

By C. S. Williams on Feb 6, 2015 From Classic Film Aficionados

First the Appetizer: Witness for the Prosecution had its World Premiere in Los Angeles, at the Warner Beverly Hills Theater (9404 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills), on?December 17, 1957; thereby qualifying for the 1958 Academy Awards.[1] Of course film-exhibitors, circuit officials, industry execu... Read full article

See all Witness for the Prosecution articles

Quotes from

[Miss Plimsoll discovers cigars hidden in Sir Wilfrid's cane]
Sir Wilfrid: You could be jailed for that. You had no search warrant for my cane!

Miss Plimsoll: Teeny weeny flight of steps, Sir Wilfrid, we mustn't forget we've had a teeny weeny heart attack.

Sir Wilfrid: I am constantly surprised that women's hats do not provoke more murders.

read more quotes from Witness for the Prosecution...

Facts about

The film was shown in London for a Royal Command Performance, but beforehand the Royal Family had to promise not to reveal the surprise ending to anyone else.
At previews, audience members received, and were asked to sign, cards that read, "I solemnly swear I will not reveal the ending of Witness for the Prosecution."
In order to show just one of Marlene Dietrich's famous legs, an entire scene was written that required 145 extras, 38 stunt men and $90,000.
read more facts about Witness for the Prosecution...
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