Siddhesh Joshi (Editor)

Trial (1955 film)

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
1 Ratings
Rate This

Rate This

Director  Mark Robson
Music director  Daniele Amfitheatrof
Country  United States
7/10 IMDb

Genre  Drama
Language  English
Trial (1955 film) movie poster
Release date  1955 (1955)
Writer  Don Mankiewicz, Don Mankiewicz (novel)
Awards  Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Cast  Glenn Ford (David), Dorothy McGuire (Abbe), Arthur Kennedy (Barney), John Hodiak (District Attorney Armstrong), Katy Jurado (Mrs. Chavez), Rafael Campos (Angel Chavez)
Similar movies  A Time to Kill, 12 Angry Men, The Juror, Sexual Chronicles of a French Family, The Rainmaker, Witness for the Prosecution
Tagline  Tense! Timely! Thrilling!

Trial preview clip

Trial is a 1955 American film directed by Mark Robson based on the novel written by Don Mankiewicz. It stars Glenn Ford, Dorothy McGuire, Arthur Kennedy, and Juano Hernandez. It is about a Mexican boy accused of rape and murder; originally victimized by prejudiced accusers, he becomes a pawn of his communist defender, whose propaganda purposes would be best served by a verdict of guilty.


Trial (1955 film) movie scenes

Mississippi trial 1955 trailer


Trial (1955 film) movie scenes

Angel Chavez (Rafael Campos) is a Mexican American teenager who lives in the small California town of San Juno. During an annual event called Bass Night held at the town beach, he wanders onto the beach, off-limits to Mexican Americans. There he meets a non-Hispanic girl he knows from high school, but she has a weak heart due to rheumatic fever and dies suddenly, and Angel is arrested. On the grounds that her heart attack was caused by Angel's attempt to seduce her—which, as they were minors, would have been statutory rape even if consensual—he is charged with felony murder. A racist mob attempts to break Angel out of jail and lynch him, but the warden persuades them to stop by promising that the youth will be executed after a fair trial.


David Blake (Glenn Ford) is a law professor at the state university. He is told he must stop teaching until he has had some courtroom experience. Rejected by many law firms, he finds work at a small one run by Bernard Castle (Arthur Kennedy). Castle wants to defend Angel and agrees to hire Blake to handle the case. Castle and Angel's mother (Katy Jurado) travel to New York City to raise money to defend Angel. Castle leaves his law clerk Abbe Nyle (Dorothy McGuire) to help Blake, and they fall in love.

Cockeyed Politics and the Whole Kitchen Sink A Riveting TRIAL 1955

Detectives working for Castle's firm uncover an attempt to tamper with the jury on behalf of the prosecution, but a new jury panel is called. Over a weekend break during jury selection, Castle calls Blake to New York to join him at a fundraising rally. Blake quickly realizes that Castle is primarily using the case as a propaganda and fundraising tool for a Communist group. Insulted at being used, Blake returns to San Juno to see the trial through to the end and represent Angel's interests.

Your obligatory Arthur Kennedy post Trial 1955 The Roadshow

Blake's trial strategy is to rebut the prosecution's case sufficiently that he does not need to present a defense. But at the last moment Castle returns and, using his influence on Angel's mother, threatens Castle with removal unless Angel testifies. Blake realizes that Castle wants the teen subjected to a harsh cross-examination that will ensure his conviction and execution: then he will be a martyr and Castle will be able to better utilize the case as a fundraising tool for the Communist Party.

TRIAL Lobby Card 4 1955 Glenn Ford

Blake remains on the case, but the cross-examination goes as poorly as feared. Chavez is found guilty, and as the jury did not suggest leniency, the death penalty will be automatic. Castle then does have Blake fired to keep him from speaking during sentencing, but he arrives anyway and requests and receives amicus status.

Cockeyed Politics and the Whole Kitchen Sink A Riveting TRIAL 1955

Blake now says that since the charge of murder was based on a technicality, it is appropriate for the judge to apply another technicality, Chavez's status as a minor, in sentencing. Instead of being hanged, the boy can simply be sent to reform school. When the prosecutor agrees that this would be fair, the African-American judge (Juano Hernandez) accepts the suggestion. He then sentences Castle, who has tried to race-bait him during Blake's argument, to 30 days in jail for contempt.

Your obligatory Arthur Kennedy post Trial 1955 The Roadshow

Blake and Abbe Nyle leave the court together.


According to MGM records the film earned $2,312,000 in the US and Canada and $993,000 elsewhere resulting in a profit of $518,000.

Awards and nominations

  • Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor (nomination) - Arthur Kennedy
  • Golden Globe award for Best Supporting Actor (won) - Arthur Kennedy
  • References

    Trial (1955 film) Wikipedia
    Trial (1955 film) IMDb Trial (1955 film)