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'Judgment at Nuremberg': All-Star Nazi Trials

Spencer Tracy, Marlene Dietrich in Judgment at Nuremberg

Spencer Tracy, Marlene Dietrich in Judgment at Nuremberg / © A.M.P.A.S.

Some critics have dismissed Judgment at Nuremberg as sentimental Hollywood claptrap, but Mr. Contrarian here finds it the best 1961 American film I've seen. (See Best Films - 1961.)

Director Stanley Kramer manages to sustain interest in the lengthy proceedings - the film runs 186 minutes - and, even if events and situations are at times overly simplified, Kramer and screenwriter Abby Mann do bring a large degree of complexity to the thorny (and still quite relevant) issues of war crimes, personal responsibility for one's actions, and human stupidity and cowardice.

The generally outstanding cast includes Spencer Tracy, Maximilian Schell, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Montgomery Clift, Marlene Dietrich, and Judy Garland.

Judgment at Nuremberg will be screened as the next installment in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' “Great To Be Nominated, Part Three.” It will be shown on Monday, May 1, at 7:30 p.m. in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Press Release:

The 1961 Best Picture nominee Judgment at Nuremberg will be screened as the next installment in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' “Great To Be Nominated, Part Three.” The film, directed by Stanley Kramer, will be shown on Monday, May 1, at 7:30 p.m. in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Set in a German courthouse, presided over by three American judges, Judgment at Nuremberg focuses on the trial of four judges accused of using their offices to enforce Nazi sterilization and cleansing policies. The film earned 11 Academy Award® nominations and took home Oscars® for Actor (Maximilian Schell) and Writing – Screenplay based on material from another medium (Abby Mann). Judgment at Nuremberg earned Kramer his second nomination for Directing and his fourth for Best Picture. Though he did not win in either category, Kramer was honored at that year's ceremony with the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award. Other nominations for the film include Actor (Spencer Tracy), Actor in a Supporting Role (Montgomery Clift), Actress in a Supporting Role (Judy Garland), Art Direction – Black-and-White (Art Direction: Rudolph Sternad; Set Decoration: George Milo), Cinematography – Black-and-White (Ernest Laszlo), Costume Design – Black-and-White (Jean Louis) and Film Editing (Frederic Knudtson).

The film's Oscar®-winning screenwriter Abby Mann and the widow of Stanley Kramer, Karen Sharpe Kramer, will attend the screening.

The evening's commemorative program will feature black-and-white photos from Judgment at Nuremberg on the cover.

Passes for “Great To Be Nominated, Part Three" are still available at a cost of $30 for film buffs wishing to see the rest of the series. Tickets for each individual screening may be purchased at a cost of $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid I.D. The Academy is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information, call 310-247-3000, ext. 111.

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