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Film Review: Judgment at Nuremberg

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Judgment at Nuremberg

United Artists / Roxlom, 1961 (BW, 190 minutes)

An American Judge at the Nuremberg war trials is faced with the issue of how much responsibility and guilt an individual must bear for crimes committed or condoned by him on the order of, and in the interest of, the State.

Judgment at Nuremberg is an unsettling account of the war crimes committed in Germany during World War II, especially in the concentration camps. The script is based on true events which actually unfolded at the Nuremberg trials when the world first learned of the atrocities. The film also delves very deeply into the ethics of assigning war crimes responsibility to individuals, and contains actual footage from German concentration camps which is as disturbing today as it was in 1961.

Crew

Produced and Directed by: Stanley Kramer
Associate Producer: Philip Langner
Assistant Director: Ivan Volkman
Screenplay by: Abby Mann
Based on a television script by Abby Mann
Music: Ernest Gold
Production Design: Rudolph Sternad
Art Direction: Rudolph Sternad, George Milo
Costumes: Joe King
Gowns for Miss Dietrich by: Jean Louis
Sound: James Speak
Photography: Ernest Laszlo
Editor: Frederick Knudston

Judy's scenes filmed in March 1961 (she was 38 years old)
Released: December 1961

Cast

Spencer Tracy ... Judge Dan Haywood
Burt Lancaster ... Ernst Janning
Richard Widmark ... Colonel Ted Lawson
Marlene Dietrich ... Madame Bertholt
Maximilian Schell ... Hans Rolfe
Judy Garland ... Irene Hoffman
Montgomery Clift ... Rudolph Peterson
William Shatner ... Captain Byers
Edward Binns ... Senator Burkette
Kenneth MacKenna ... Judge Kenneth Norris
Werner Klemperer ... Emil Hahn
Alan Baxter ... General Merrin
Torben Meyer ... Werner Lammpe
with
Ray Teal, Martin Brandt, Virginia Christine, Ben Wright, Joseph Bernard, John Wengraf, Karl Swenson, Howard Caine, Otto Waldis, Olga Fabian, Sheila Bromley, Bernard Kates, Jana Taylor, Paul Busch

Notes

When Judy reported on the set to start working on her first real part since A Star Is Born, the crew gave her a standing ovation.

Judy was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actress for her portrayal of Irene Hoffman, but the award went to Rita Moreno for her excellent work in West Side Story.

Judgment at Nuremberg received numerous Academy Award nominations for 1961: nominated for Best Picture, awarded Best Actor (Maximilian Schell), nominated for Best Supporting Actor (Montgomery Clift), nominated for Best Supporting Actress (Judy Garland), nominated for Best Direction (Stanley Kramer), awarded Best Screenplay based on material from another medium (Abby Mann), awarded Best Black and White Cinematography (Ernest Laszlo), awarded Best Set Decoration, black and white (Robert Sternad and George Milo), awarded Best Film Editing (Frederick Knudston), awarded Best Costume Design, black and white (Jean Louis).

Judy was awarded the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award in 1962 for her "contribution to the entertainment industry throughout the years".

The film was cited by the New York Film Critics as one of the Ten Best Pictures of the Year.

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Critical Response

"[Stanley Kramer and Abby Mann] ... have ... a ...young hausfrau, whom Judy Garland makes amazingly real, tell a horrifying tale of trumped-up charges of "racial contamination" against an elderly Jew."

- Bosley Crowther, The New York Times, December 20, 1961

"Both Clift and Miss Garland bring great emotional force and conviction to their chores, he as a somewhat deranged victim of Nazi sterility measures, she as a German accused of relations with a Jew at a period when such an activity was forbidden and punishable by death for the Jew."

- Variety, October 18, 1961



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Judy Garland as Irene Hoffman in "Judgment at Nuremberg"

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