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Portia on Trial [DVD] [1937]
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Special Features

  • The Screen Writer:
  • the importance of the screenwriter to the studio system is spotlighted in this vintage short subject produced by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. screenwriters who also direct, like John Huston and Billy Wilder, are featured, as well as ones who go on to become studio heads like Daryl F. Zanuck and Dore Schary.


Portia on Trial
Lady lawyer Portia Merryman (Frieda Inescourt) defends woebegone Elizabeth Manners (Heather Angel), who is on trial for shooting her lover Earle Condon (Neil Hamilton). Ironically, Portia herself had once had an affair with Earle's father, powerful publisher John Condon (Clarence Kolb). She has a pretty good idea of what is going on in Elizabeth's head, since she herself was on the verge of killing Condon when he ruthlessly took custody of her illegitimate son (not Earle, though that certainly would have brought things full circle). As Portia toils and strains to free her client, she carries on a romance with Dan Foster (Walter Abel) -- the attorney for the prosecution. LA Law and The Practice have nothing on this one! ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Walter Abel
    Walter Abel - Dan Foster
  • Frieda Inescort
    Frieda Inescort - Portia Merriman
  • Neil Hamilton
    Neil Hamilton - Earle Condon
  • Heather Angel
    Heather Angel - Elizabeth Manners
  • Ruth Donnelly
    Ruth Donnelly - Jane Wilkins
Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.