Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
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Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
Novelist Tom Garret (Dana Andrews) agrees to help wealthy publisher Austin Spenser (Sidney Blackmer), the father of his fiance, Susan ($Joan Fontaine) to plant evidence that will incriminate Tom in a murder and be sentenced to death, hoping to discredit capital punishment by revealing Tom's innocence. Beyond A Reasonable Doubt, the last American film of Fritz Lang, was made on a low budget, with poor production values and, unusual for Lang, not much visual style. Nevertheless, the film has considerable impact because of the narrative structure and mood and the expertly devised plot, in… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 69%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Fritz Lang's direction does what it can to inject suspense and interest but the melodrama never really jells."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"While the purpose may be exemplary, the method the gentlemen employ is highly dubious as a practical exposition. And once it is revealed to prove their point, it should certainly put them in a pickle for conspiring to subvert justice and fool the courts."
‑ Bosley Crowther, New York Times
"While perhaps overdependent on coincidence and contrivance, this deft thriller guards its secret right to the end and proved a fitting swan song to Fritz Lang's Hollywood career."
‑ David Parkinson, Radio Times
"There's little denying that this one of Lang's lesser films, perhaps not helped by the impoverished budget."
‑ Matt McAllister, Future Movies UK
"O último filme americano de Lang é também um de seus trabalhos menos interessantes visualmente, tornando-se ainda mais decepcionante em função do roteiro terrivelmente confuso em suas discussões morais."
‑ Pablo Villaca, Cinema em Cena
"Lang's most austere film, reducing the characters to pawns arbitrarily shifted in demonstration of a fascinating theorem."
‑ Tom Milne, Time Out
"It is a film of great economy and precision (it lasts only 80 minutes), with the terrifying inevitability of Greek tragedy and a pervading sense that man is his own worst enemy."
‑ Derek Malcolm, Guardian
"What this tense thriller lacks in action is more than made for by unpredictable twists in the plot, as well as an eerie atmosphere created by the gothic looking buildings and black and white film."
‑ , Empire Magazine
"Says a prosecutor, during the trial: 'Beneath his intellectual and cultured exterior, he was moved by brutal impulses.' Is this also Lang's self-indictment? Or an indictment of any artist who trucks in sexual titillation and murder-as-entertainment?"
‑ John Beifuss, Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
"While overall the film is more mechanical and reliant on dialogue than Lang's German masterpiece M, it makes a perfect companion piece, sharing M's fascination with the criminal process."
‑ , Film4
"Once he's raised the standard social issues, Lang destroys them all with a shatteringly nihilistic conclusion."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"Fritz Lang's last American movie is an edgy study in moral ambiguity."
‑ Philip Kemp, Total Film
"Beyond a Reasonable Doubt is a ludicrous story, very hard to swallow. Lang, who should have known better, must have directed this with his good eye closed."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Strange, complexly styled crime melodrama."
‑ Michael E. Grost, Classic Film and Television
"Twisty courtroom drama about the dangers of capital punishment."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
More reviews for Beyond a Reasonable Doubt on Rotten Tomatoes