Cynicism, femme fatales, violence, love & sex in “Witness for the Prosecution”,”[Double Indemnity” & “Sunset Boulevard”.
Most of Billy Wilder’s films have a strong aura of cynicism manifested in the actions of the characters and the development of the themes. Witness for the Prosecution (1958) is atypical in some ways it is more isolated in time and place than most of Wilder’s films because it is a courtroom drama which keeps largely to one setting. Its protagonist is every bit as cynical in his way as the heroes of other Wilder films, such as Double Indemnity (1944) or Sunset Boulevard (1950), and, like those other characters, he is ultimately duped by his own cynical nature. Like many Wilder characters, in fact, the barrister Sir Wilfrid alternates between being an effective practitioner of his particular profession and an observer who is presented with a vision of the actions of someone even more cynical and manipulative than he.
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