After a wild night, wealthy Michael Reston's adulterous wife Charleen comes home with her ripe young body barely concealed by a dress in rags; murder results. Top defense lawyer J.G. Blane, whose own marriage exists in name only, arrives in Desert View, Nevada to find the townsfolk and politically powerful Sheriff Hoak distinctly hostile to the Restons. In due course, Blane discovers he's been "taken for a ride," and that quiet desert communities can be deadly...
Uploaded by: FREEMAN November 17, 2023 at 01:33 AM
A criminal lawyer of New York is called upon to defend an obvious first degree murder, which he will find reasons to regret
The introductory murder is just a trademark. There is some more violence, to be sure, but the important dominating part of the film is a splendid trial of integrity standing alone against mobster violence, corruption, foul play conspiracy, lies and relentless vengefulness. Jeff Chandler plays the lawyer ultimately defending himself and the truth, admitting all his mistakes, and that's the crucial turning point. He knows the truth of the case, he suspects the anatomy of the set-up, and he knows he is battling against an overwhelming enemy of evil in full power. The character of the film and the structure of the plot is very remindful of Orson Welles' "Touch of Evil" from one year later, and it's possible that Welles could have been influenced and inspired by this film. Jeff Chandler was always a great and good actor, but this is maybe his greatest performance, well supported by Jeanne Crain, who is equal to his poise. I loved this film, it is consrructive and gives you much to think of, and most of all to beware of hidden enemies - like in all American films of crime and noirs there are some good people committing unnecessary and meaningless mistakes, which helps in building up the terrible ordeal of the drama, but if there is anyhting you will learn something of, it's your mistakes.
Reviewed by bkoganbing8 / 10
The Wrong Sheriff to Mess With
The Tattered Dress is a very under rated film that I wish would be broadcast more often. I saw it many times during the sixties and seventies and haven't seen it for years. But the performances do stand out.
The one who stands out the most is Jack Carson. This is no doubt his best screen dramatic performance. Carson usually was cast as amiable blow hard types who usually meant well, but could be very dense. In The Tattered Dress as the mean sadistic sheriff he really should have been nominated for Best Supporting Actor in this one.
Jeff Chandler plays a high price defense attorney who's come to Carson's town to defend a married couple accused of a murder that has generated national headlines. Chandler is usually well paid for his services and this is no exception.
While there Chandler makes the acquaintance of Carson. Carson's a local celebrity himself, his former gridiron exploits locally helped him first get elected sheriff. However Chandler's a real national celebrity and Carson fawns all over him.
What happens though is that Carson gives Chandler a confidence that when the trial comes, Chandler uses to impeach Carson's testimony and make him a figure of ridicule on the stand. Because of that his clients get acquitted.
Carson exacts his revenge by framing Chandler on a jury tampering charge and uses every avenue to close any loopholes Chandler might find as his own defense attorney.
The Tattered Dress is one of Jeff Chandler's best films, but as good as he is, Jack Carson gives us his career performance. He's an incredible study of pure evil in power. A person totally unable to deal with others professionally. Chandler was an attorney advocating for his clients, admittedly not a pair of the noblest creatures on earth, but in the final analysis was just doing his job. Carson can't separate that out. I've known some and worked for some people like that in real life. Bad when they get into positions of authority.
Elaine Stewart and Philip Reed are Chandler's wealthy clients who take a powder on him when he gets in a jackpot. Jeanne Crain is Chandler's estranged wife who still stands by him and Gail Russell in one of her last film roles is the woman who accuses Chandler of jury tampering. They all fill their roles nicely, but a special mention should go to George Tobias, a comedian who Chandler got off on a murder charge himself, but at the cost of his career. He serves as a gopher/confidante to Chandler and has a tragic end.
I truly wish The Tattered Dress was out on VHS or DVD. It's a terrific story that is well acted and written. Absolutely a must see for fans of Jeff Chandler and Jack Carson.
Reviewed by churei8 / 10
THE TATTERED DRESS has so many fascinating elements within it that it deserves to be elevated to the class of forgotten, but major, works. Jack Arnold's direction of a potentially overly-melodramatic plot manages to sidestep most of the problems, but it is the acting that is most memorable. The film's beginning uses Elaine Stewart to enormous advantage. She may have had a short film career, but you could not take your eyes off her when she was on screen (THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, SKY FULL OF MOON, HAJJI BABA, etal). She had quite a bit of talent that never saw stardom, partly because of a dog attack that left her out of the biz for a while. GAIL RUSSELL is superb...totally wonderful... in a supporting role, and the scene in which she breaks down in the courtroom deserved a Nomination. And how splendidly she handles the line about drinking!! JACK CARSON is cagey and sneaky and superbly threatening. In the lead, JEFF CHANDLER, as a lawyer, is always convincing. Low-keyed, you can tell when his character is confronted with an insurmountable problem. JEANNE CRAIN has little to do as his wife, but she is always lovely to watch. Catch this underrated film. It's worth searching for.