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The Trial1963

  • 4.3
Adapted from the novel by Franz Kafka, THE TRIAL stars Anthony Perkins as Joseph K., an innocent victim charged with an unnamed crime. Masterfully directed by Orson Welles, who sets a riveting, maddening and brilliantly disturbing pace. While the source for THE TRIAL is described as "restored" it is still admittedly less than ideal. The importance of the film overwhelms the unfortunate picture quality (and, if a better source materializes, this one will definitely be replaced).

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"Say what you like, but THE TRIAL is the best film I have ever made." - Orson Welles

4 members like this review

Perfect marriage of director and material. The dialog crackles - even Tony Perkins, who's often vocally flat, does quite well with the timing - and the production design and editing can't be beat. This is my favorite Welles-directed film.

top reviewer

Member Reviews (11)

top reviewer

Perfect marriage of director and material. The dialog crackles - even Tony Perkins, who's often vocally flat, does quite well with the timing - and the production design and editing can't be beat. This is my favorite Welles-directed film.

4 members like this review
top reviewer

BRILLIANT! "Perhaps you found some amusement in the fact that I expected at least some of you to be seriously interested in justice"

"Unless your thoughts are innocent 100%….I’m innocent, I’ve committed no crime.

Its awful how easy it is to get demoralized. That’s what they want." Powerfully prophetic--filled with truths that apply to our current world. The meaningless jobs that destroy the fabric of identity: "I can’t hold lengthy conversations with family members during working hours." And portrayal of the Organization of society birthed during the machine era: "You want to know about your case don’t cha? Ask the machine!" Tears the heroic myth apart: "...What’s happening to me is of no great importance, but I think it is representative of what is happening to a great many other people as well. It is for these others that I take my stand here not for myself alone." And I learned that Anthony Perkins could actually act!

3 members like this review

Welles, Kafka and the brilliant, understated Anthony Perkins. What's not to like? One of my favorite films, although its length sometimes keeps me away. While I acknowledge the criticism of Welles for not being true to Kafka (the story is a nightmare scenario taking place in a familiar environment, yet Welles set it in a nightmare environment), the story is so powerful it still resonates. While many adventurous directors create a dystopian future, Welles gives us a dystopian present. Perkins was a fine actor who, in sort of a Hollywood twist, had his career cut short by success. In this case, the triumph of Hitchcock's iconic "Psycho" skewed the industry's appreciation of Perkins' full talent. While he continued to find work: this film and "On the Beach," for example, he was mostly stereotyped as the twisted loner. Welles makes excellent use of the actor's facility playing the insecure, tic-laden anti-hero. The role perfectly illustrates the old saw:"Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you!"

1 member likes this review
top reviewer

Of all Welle's post-expat releases (the classic "Touch of Evil" was his last American film), this is probably my favorite. The Shakespearean films are great, too, but I'm not really too big on the Bard, and they suffer from rather modest budget constraints. Welles takes Kafka's rather bleak but fascinating novel (I read it in one day myself) and injects some much-needed humor, particularly in his hilarious scene as a pompous, libertine judge. He skillfully weaves in the dark, doom-laden predicament of Joseph K., too, and while I think the film could be faulted for running a little long and the ending being a bit anticlimactic (but accurate to the novel) the direction is inspired, particularly in the first half. Three and a half stars.


One of the better prints I've seen of this. Welles' favorite, might even be his best.

sadly, the movie doesn't play on this page. instead, when I click the play button for the movie, the trailer plays.

I wish the protagonist had thrown the stick of dynamite instead of allowing it to defeat him. It showed throughout the movie how he talked too much instead of asking questions. His actions were portrayed as a coward early on but as the movie got going I began to enjoy how he started to stand up for himself even if the situation was unknown or intense but disappointedly, I gave the film 4 stars because he caved in at the end.

Another Orson Welles masterclass And a film that is somehow underappreciated.

A great film indeed, and yes, a bit long, but contrary to the description, I found the picture quality excellent.

I have not seen it in its entirety yet. It is a thriller and I like it. On trial for what?

This is a bad print of a great film. Find it elsewhere, although it's not easy.