20 November 2007 | claudio_carvalho
Surprising Twist in a Great Film-Noir
The owner of an important newspaper Austin Spencer (Sidney Blackmer) opposes to the capital punishment and particularly to the prosecutor Roy Thompson (Philip Bourneuf), who has just succeeded in a trial based on circumstantial evidences. When a dancer is strangled and the police have no suspect, Austin convinces his future son-in-law, the prominent writer Tom Garrett (Dana Andrews), to plant circumstantial evidences to self-incriminate, while he would hold pictures, receipts and other evidences of his innocence until the very last moment. Later Austin would begin a campaign in his newspaper disclosing the possibility of sending an innocent to the electric chair. They decide to hide the truth from Austin's daughter Susan (Joan Fontaine) since she could not support the situation under stress. When the jury withdraws from the court in the end of the trial to give the sentence, Austin takes the evidences that prove the innocence of Tom from his safe, but has a car accident and dies. Tom is sentenced to death penalty and tries to convince Susan of his innocence as his last hope.
"Beyond a Reasonable Doubt" is a great film-noir with a surprising twist in the very end. The plot seems to be naive who would accept to be accused of murder just to prove a point against the death penalty? but after the very last twist, the concept changes from naive to Machiavellian. I have glanced unfair reviews in IMDb that I do not agree, since I liked this movie a lot. My vote is eight.
Title (Brazil): "Suplício de uma Alma" ("Torment of a Soul")