Director James Hill
Music director Ron Grainer
Genre Comedy, Drama
Screenplay Pierre Rouve
|Release date 20 September 1962 (World Premiere, LondonDVD 26 January 1999|
Writer John Mortimer (play), Pierre Rouve (screenplay)
Initial release September 25, 1962 (United Kingdom)
Cast Peter Sellers (Wilfred Morgenhall), Richard Attenborough (Herbert Fowle), Beryl Reid (Doris Fowle), David Lodge (Frank Bateson), Frank Pettingell (Tuppy Morgan), Audrey Nicholson (Morgenhall's Girl)
Similar movies Peter Sellers appears in The Dock Brief and The Millionairess
Tagline This is NOT the Birdman of Alcatraz!..It's only Peter Sellers with his sly, sneaky style of humor that creeps up on you and the leaves you wanting more.
Trial and error 1962 aka the dock brief
The Dock Brief (US title Trial and Error) is a 1962 black-and-white British legal satire directed by James Hill, starring Peter Sellers and Richard Attenborough, and based on the play of the same name written by John Mortimer (creator of Horace Rumpole).
- Trial and error 1962 aka the dock brief
- An excerpt of the dock brief play by john mortimer
- 1957 Radio Play
- 1960 Australian TV Version
The film had its world premiere on 20 September 1962 at the Plaza Theatre in London's West End.
Richard Attenborough was nominated for the 1963 BAFTA Award for best British actor for his role.
An excerpt of the dock brief play by john mortimer
In a cell under the Old Bailey, two men meet. One is Wilfred Morgenhall, an unmarried barrister who never gets any cases and is overjoyed to have won this dock brief, the defense of an accused individual with no lawyer (at public expense). The other is his client Herbert Fowle, an insignificant man who just wants to plead guilty to murdering his wife and get it all over.
Flashbacks show that the wife was impossible to live with and Fowle, who avoided her as much as possible, hatched a plot to get rid of her by taking in a male lodger. The lodger found her amusing and attractive, until one day he went too far and Mrs Fowle threw him out of the house. In despair at his plot having failed, Fowle killed her.
Morgenhall role plays various defenses, in the process raising Fowle's will to fight. But when the case is called, he botches it and Fowle is found guilty. Morgenhall goes to visit him in prison, where he learns that Fowle has been reprieved because his defense was so poor. The two leave together, two lonely and inadequate men who have become friends.
According to MGM records, the film made a profit of $141,000.
1957 Radio Play
The BBC produced a radio version of the play in 1957 for the third program. Michael Hordern and David Kossoff played the parts.
1960 Australian TV Version
The play was filmed for Australian TV in 1960 directed by Ray Menmuir and starring Reg Lye and Moray Powell.
Morgenhall: "Now you're the only case I've got, and the most difficult."
The New York Times: "Charming, comic...robustly amusing." (quoted from the DVD cover)
ReferencesThe Dock Brief Wikipedia
The Dock Brief IMDb The Dock Brief themoviedb.org