GenreDrama CinematographyByron Haskin CountryUnited States
DirectorArchie Mayo Story byElmer Rice Duration LanguageEnglish
Release dateNovember 14, 1928 (1928-11-14) (sound version)
December 29, 1928 (1928-12-29) (silent version) Based onOn Trial
by Elmer Rice WriterRobert Lord (screenplay), Robert Lord (titles), Max Pollock, Elmer Rice (play) GenresDrama, Silent film, Black-and-white CastPauline Frederick, Lois Wilson, Bert Lytell Similar moviesMadonna of Avenue A (1929), As the Earth Turns (1934), Green Light (1937), Colleen (1936), Don Juan (1926)
On trial trailer 1928
On Trial is a 1928 American talking drama film produced and distributed by Warner Bros., and directed by Archie Mayo. The film starred Pauline Frederick, Lois Wilson, Bert Lytell, Holmes Herbert and Jason Robards. The film is based on the 1914 Broadway play of the same name by Elmer Rice. A silent version of the film was also released on December 29, 1928.
The story was first filmed in 1917, starring Barbara Castleton, Sidney Ainsworth, and Mary McAllister. It was remade again in 1939 with John Litel, Margaret Lindsay, and Edward Norris.
A man is put on trial for the murder on his best friend. A young attorney wants to become successful and decides to defend him. However, he is very inexperienced.
Pauline Frederick as Joan Trask
Bert Lytell as Robert Strickland
Lois Wilson as May Strickland
Holmes Herbert as Gerald Trask
Richard Tucker as Prosecuting Attorney
Jason Robards, Sr. as Defense Attorney
Franklin Pangborn as Turnbull
Fred Kelsey as Clerk
Vondell Darr as Doris Strickland
Preservation and public domain status
The 1928 film version of On Trial is now considered lost. However, Vitaphone soundtrack discs for the film survive and are housed at the UCLA Film and Television Archive and British Film Institute. The film's trailer also survives.
In 1956, the film entered the public domain in the USA due to Associated Artists Productions failing to renew the copyright on the 28th anniversary after registration.