Night and Day: Wednesday, August 1, 2002
The American Lieutenantís Woman

Otto Premingerís 1959 courtroom drama Anatomy of a Murder created a stir in its time with its frank discussion of sexual matters. While it has lost most of its shock value today, itís still a superlative legal thriller that casts an unvarnished look at the justice system. Itís this monthís installment of the First Tuesday Classics series.

The case begins with a former D.A. (James Stewart), now in private practice. His first big case is defending a U.S. Army lieutenant (Ben Gazzara) who admits to killing the man who raped his wife (Lee Remick). The wifeís behavior and taste for provocative dress soon come under scrutiny, and she seems to enjoy the attention a bit too much. The defendant, too, is curiously unruffled by his crime ó when we first see him, heís smirking triumphantly in his jail cell, like a schoolboy whoís been caught spray-painting some clever graffiti.

The three principals play their opaque and demanding roles well, George C. Scott makes a formidable prosecutor, and Eve Arden provides indispensable comic relief. The judge is played creditably by Joseph Welch, the lawyer made famous by the Army-McCarthy hearings. The other notable cameo comes from Duke Ellington, the composer of the filmís spiky jazz score, who plays the piano alongside Stewart. With all this, itís easy to lose Premingerís contribution. His reputation as a filmmaker has suffered because of his low-key visual style and strangely erratic career, but he tells the messy story with intelligence and clarity, and his explicitness about the caseís details is honest rather than sensationalistic. Anatomy of a Murder isnít just a forerunner of every lawyer show currently on tv, but a complicated human story in its own right.

Anatomy of a Murder screens at 7:30pm Tue at AMC Sundance 11, 312 Houston St, FW. Tickets are $6. Call 817-820-0066.



George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart based the main character in their comedy The Man Who Came to Dinner on Alexander Woollcott, a famously acerbic newspaper columnist and radio personality who was their friend. The comedy is premised on the fact that a renowned and witty person such as him might be a great dinner guest for an ordinary family, but what if he couldnít leave? The play runs Aug 1-25 at Theatre Arlington, 305 W Main St, Arlington. Tickets are $14-16. Call 817-275-7661.



Like My Big Fat Greek Wedding (which is still playing in local movie theaters), Joe DiPietroís comedy Over the River and Through the Woods takes a large, ethnic, food-obsessed family and a young personís wedding as its subjects. DiPietroís musical I Love You, Youíre Perfect, Now Change is still playing in Dallas, so it seems like everything has aligned for Circle Theatreís production of the play. It runs Aug 2-Sep 7 at 230 W 4th St, FW. Tickets are $10-30. Call 817-877-3040.



Neil Simonís Broadway Bound is the third in his trilogy of autobiographical plays (the others being Brighton Beach Memoirs and Lost in Yonkers). It deals with a young writerís domestic life in Queens in the 1950s, leading up to him receiving his big break from a television network. The play runs Aug 3-24 at Stage West, 3055 S University Dr, FW. Tickets are $15-22. Call 817-784-9378.



Hip Pocket Theatreís newest play, Savage Love, isnít based on Dan Savageís controversial sex column that used to run in the pages of this newspaper. Instead, itís a play by Sam Shepard and Joseph Chaikin that explores the relationship between a couple whose passion for each other has its darker side. This play has an even shorter run than Hip Pocketís production from last week. It runs Fri-Sun at Oak Acres Amphitheatre, 1620 Las Vegas Trail N, FW. Tickets are $8-12. Call 817-246-9775.s



Add another poetry venue for Fort Worthís burgeoning community to attend. The Black Dog Tavern is inaugurating its First Mondays series tonight, devoting the initial Monday of every month to performance art and the spoken word. The seriesí first guest artist is William Bryan Massey III. The performance is 8:30-10pm at 903 Throckmorton St, FW. Admission is free. Call 817-455-7932.



Silly, obscure, full of references to Freemasonry, and often just plain weird, Mozartís The Magic Flute has nevertheless gained a deserved place in the operatic repertoire for its humor and its ceaseless flow of sublime music. With live classical music concerts at a low ebb this week, UNT Operaís production of this stage work is the place to be. The opera runs Thu-Tue at Lyric Theatre, Murchison Performing Arts Center, I-35E & Av D, Denton. Tickets are $5. Call 940-369-7802.



The American Quarter Horse Association holds its annual Youth Association World Show at Will Rogers Memorial Center this week. Young riders and quarter horses compete at cutting, penning, roping, and various other equestrian activities. The show is Aug 2-10 at 3401 W Lancaster Av, FW. Admission is free. Call 806-376-4811.

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