The 1957 film of Agatha Christie’s play Witness for the Prosecution is a delightful, captivating, well-constructed affair. As long as you don’t figure out the key twist (which relies on a very skillful act of legerdemain), it will bowl you over. And even if you do figure it out – as I did – Christie still throws in one or five shocks at the end for good measure. Impeccably acted by Charles Laughton, Elsa Lanchester and Tyrone Power (and with a debatable performance from Marlene Dietrich thrown in for good measure), it’s a bona fide success. So, how does the 1982 TV remake stand up?

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Second only to her record-breaking success The Mousetrap (still running in London more than 50 years after it premiered), Witness for the Prosecution is by far Christie’s most successful work for the stage. It premiered in 1953, with David Horne and Patricia Jessel lauded for their work as a defense attorney and the emotionally detached woman who becomes the crux of his current murder case, respectively. In 1957 – when Christie’s fame was at its peak – Witness was adapted into a successful film, which remains engaging to this day.

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