30 September 2013 | marcslope
Some scintillating pre-credits footage of bureaucrats shuffling through card files of prospective jurors, and we're off on the world's least interesting murder trial, propelled by a baffling romance between jurors Ginger Rogers and Dennis Morgan. Both are still married, she's separated, and the movie doesn't seem to know how to treat the prospect of their getting together--we're supposed to want them to, yet also not to want them to, because of all the lives it would disrupt. Meantime, the rest of the jury appears to be the stupidest ever, led by Thelma Ritter, doing her usual welcome Tenth-Avenue-salt-of-the-earth thing, but with bad lines. Rogers, as was her wont at this stage of her career, is more glamorous than the woman she's playing, and one detects a large whiff of star vanity; Morgan looks understandably bored. The movie's unaccountably fascinated with the minor details of jury duty, and everyone on this panel is such an idiot that there's nothing to do but watch them jabber and spar and lead to their inevitable verdict. Bretaigne Windust's direction (now there's a name) is disinterested and uncinematic, but not even a Capra or a Sturges could have made anything of this script.