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A briskly-paced, Depression-era drama based upon the play by Elmer Rice (Street Scene), William Wyler's Counsellor at Law is often cited as the best film to ever tackle the intricacies and pitfalls of the legal profession. John Barrymore (Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde) stars as George Simon, a high-powered attorney who frantically juggles the scandals, crimes and crises that pass through the chrome-and-glass doors of his art deco office high in the Empire State Building. Balanced on an ethical tightrope, Simon engages in insider trading and bleeds funds from wealthy clients, while tending to the needs of the less fortunate New Yorkers who come from his own working-class (Jewish) background. A political enemy uncovers a past legal indiscretion and begins disbarment proceedings, causing Simon's socialite wife (Doris Kenyon) to seek comfort in the arms of another man (Melvyn Douglas). With the unflagging support of his faithful secretary (Bebe Daniels), Simon attempts to exercise his legalistic wizardry to defend his reputation and protect those who rely upon him for justice. Flavored with social commentary and wry humor, Counsellor at Law is an exceptional example of the hard-boiled dramas that defined the Pre-Code cinema of the early 1930s.

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KI2612 Counsellor At Law DVD (1933/John Barrymore) $29.95 $26.99