Anatomy of a Murder: Movie Review

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Tracey Sexton
Homework 5
History of Film

Anatomy of a Murder
In the movie Anatomy of a Murder the viewer is led to believe that a young and beautiful woman cannot possibly be the victim of rape. The setting of this movie takes place in the rural Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where a small time country lawyer Paul Biegler (James Stewart) is hired to clear Lt. Fredrick Manion (Arthur O'Connell) of the charges of Murder. After the brutal rape of his wife Laura Manion (Lee Remick,) Lt. Manion takes leave of his senses and kills Barney Quill the owner/bartender of the local Inn. Anatomy of a Murder is encoded with many messages that imply a “sociological theory” undertone to the story line. When looking at the lead female we see that Laura Manion is a young beauty who is portrayed as not too smart and very loose with her dress and actions. Can a woman who dresses to show every curve and feminine attribute given to a woman’s figure have been raped if she does not show any signs of violation other than a few bruises, especially if she outwardly does not show any emotional distress. The actions of Laura’s character confuses the audience, she makes you wonder if she truly was raped. The visual memes used to give the audience this impression is classic to the female floozy who encouraged the rape or actually was caught in the act of an affair by her husband thus causing a jealous rage in her husband Lt. Manion to commit the murder of Barney and the beating of Laura. We also see underlying signs that Laura is afraid of her controlling jealous husband Lt. Manion. The prosecution tries to use Lt. Manion’s military career as a soldier who has killed before against him. This type of stereo typing is evident throughout the movie. Another stereo type expressed during the movie is of the young woman Mary Pilant who is the manager of the inn owned by the murder victim. Pilant is accused of being jealous of Laura and Barney’s interactions, that Mary is Barney’s...
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