Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell (1955)

Director: Otto Preminger

Writers: Milton Sperling, Emmet Lavery, Ben Hecht, Dalton Trumbo, Michael Wilson

Composer: Dimitri Tiomkin

Starring: Gary Cooper, Charles Bickford, Ralph Bellamy, Rod Steiger, Elizabeth Montgomery, Fred Clark, James Daly, Jack Lord, Peter Graves, Darren McGavin, Robert F. Simon, Charles Dingle, Dayton Lummis

More info: IMDb

Tagline: He defied the army and navy . . . and they gave him a Court Martial!

Plot: A dramatization of the American general and his court martial for publically complaining about High Command's dismissal and neglect of the aerial fighting forces.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

If you like your war dramas heavy on the drama and you love sitting in a courtroom for over an hour then this picture might be for you.  None of these things deter from this being a good picture.  It's technically well made.  The performances are good and it's neat seeing so many famous actors before they were famous.  I read that the family of Mitchell was disappointed in the casting of Cooper and they preferred Cagney because Mitchell was much shorter than Cooper and he had a hot headed temper.  Cooper doesn't play animated roles.  He's always very stoic and grounded much like Gregory Peck.  I'd like to see Cooper lose his shit one time and go on one hell of a mean streak tear.  He does fine in the role but I agree and thing Cagney would've been better suited.  Most of the film is the trial so knowing that helps prepare one for what's to come.  The title gives that away.  It's not so compelling that it warrants another watch but it is worth seeing once.

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