JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG

STUDIO:  United Artists/Roxlom

PRODUCTION NUMBER:  1

PRODUCTION DATES: Judy’s scenes filmed in March 1961

PRODUCTION COST:   $3,000,000

RUNNING TIME:  190 minutes

RELEASE DATE:  December 14, 1961 (Kongresshalle, Berlin, Germany) / December 19, 1961 (USA)

INITIAL BOX OFFICE:  $10,000,000+

Judgment at Nuremberg was Judy’s first film role since 1954’s A Star Is Born as well as her first all-dramatic role since 1945’s The Clock.  In 1960 her voice was featured in one song for the film Pepe that was played while Dan Dailey and Shirley Jones danced.

Judgment at Nuremberg was adapted from the Playhouse 90 television play of the same name about a part of the lengthy real-life Nazi war crime trials in Nuremberg, Germany.  The film is an expanded version of that successful telecast.  Although it’s long it’s nonetheless incredibly riveting with all of the cast is at their best, as evidenced by the Oscar nominations.  To date it still packs a dramatic and thought provoking punch.  Judy’s role as the Nazi victim Irene Hoffman is small but pivotal.  Her scenes on the witness stand are intense.  Judy is seen very deglamorized.  For once her weight wasn’t a liability but an asset.  She probably was quite happy to not have to diet for a film!

Judy received her second (and last) Oscar nomination for Judgment at Nuremberg, this time as the Best Supporting Actress of 1961, but lost to Rita Moreno’s performance in West Side Story.  It’s impossible to compare the two performances because they’re so different.  Moreno is dazzling in her role but (and this is not meant as disrespectful) the role isn’t much of a stretch for her.  Judy plays a character completely out of type for her which required real acting ability.  Winning the award would have been a nice consolation for her loss in 1955 as Best Actress (in A Star Is Born), and would have been a great acknowledgement of her contributions to the movies and the entertainment industry in general.  

Judy later said that her inspiration for how to play her scene was inspired by her love of and relationship with her late father.  She received raves from the critics and it began a too brief resurgence of her film career which paralleled her current renaissance that also included her one-woman concerts and television appearances.  The early 1960s were a golden time for Judy Garland and Judgement at Nuremberg is one of the highlights.

TIMELINE:

  • January 12, 1961:  At the Carlyle Hotel – just before Judy moved into her new apartment that Freddie Field’s (Judy’s new agent) assistant, Stevie Dumler, had found for her at the famed Dakota – she signed a contract for her return to movies in Judgment at Nuremberg, for which she received $50,000.  At the press conference Judy mentioned The Lonely Stage as a possible film project. It ended up being her last film, 1963’s I Could Go On Singing.
  • March 8 through 19, 1961:  Judy spend eleven days at Universal Studios in Los Angeles filming her scenes for Judgment at Nuremberg.  
  • December 11, 1961:  Judy, along with her lifelong friend Kay Thompson, flew to Berlin, Germany, for the premiere of the film.
  • December 13, 1961:  Judy and the rest of the cast, along with director Stanley Kramer, took part in a press conference about the film at the Hilton in Berlin, Germany.
  • December 14, 1961:  Judgment at Nuremberg had its world premiere at the Kongresshalle, Berlin, Germany.   

FACTOIDS:

  • When Judy reported on the set for the first time, which was her first day on a major movie project since A Star Is Born, the crew gave her a standing ovation.
  • Judgment at Nuremberg received the following Academy Award nominations for 1961, winners in bold:
    • Best Picture
    • Best Actor – Maximilian Schell
    • Best Supporting Actor – Montgomery Clift
    • Best Supporting Actress – Judy Garland
    • Best Director – Stanley Kramer (Kramer received the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award)
    • Best Screenplay based on material from another medium – Abby Mann
    • Best Black and White Cinematography – Ernest Laszlo
    • Best Set Decoration, black and white – Robert Sternad and George Milo
    • Best Film Editing – Frederick Knudston
    • Best Costume Design, black and white – Jean Louis)
  • Judy was awarded the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award in 1962 for her “contribution to the entertainment industry throughout the years.”
  • In 2013, Judgment at Nuremberg was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”  The other Garland films in the Registry are:  A Star Is Born (inducted in 2000), Love Finds Andy Hardy (inducted in 2000), Meet Me In St. Louis (inducted in 1994), and The Wizard of Oz (one of the first films inducted into the newly formed Registry in 1989).
  • Two of the film’s supporting players went on to big success on TV:  William Shatner went on to eternal fame as “Captain Kirk” in “Star Trek” and Werner Klemperer found fame as “Colonel Klink” in “Hogan’s Heroes.”
  • Only two performers from the original Playhouse 90 telecast reprised their roles in the film:  Maximilian Schell and Werner Klemperer.

CAST:

Spencer Tracy as Judge Dan Haywood

Burt Lancaster as Ernst Janning

Richard Widmark as Colonel Ted Lawson

Marlene Dietrich as Madame Bertholt

Maximilian Schell as Hans Rolfe

Judy Garland as Irene Hoffman

Montgomery Clift as Rudolph Peterson

William Shatner as Captain Byers

Edward Binns as Senator Burkette

Kenneth MacKenna as Judge Kenneth Norris

Werner Klemperer as Emil Hahn

Alan Baxter as General Merrin

Torben Meyer as Werner Lammpe

WITH:  Ray Teal, Martin Brandt, Virginia Christine, Ben Wright, Joseph Bernard, John Wengraf, Karl Swenson, Howard Caine, Otto Waldis, Olga Fabian, Sheila Bromley, Bernard Kates, Jana Taylor, Paul Busch

CREW:

Produced and Directed by: Stanley Kramer

Associate Producer: Philip Langner

Assistant Director: Ivan Volkman

Screenplay by: Abby Mann

Based on a television script by Abby Mann

Music: Ernest Gold

Production Design: Rudolph Sternad

Art Direction: Rudolph Sternad, George Milo

Costumes: Joe King

Gowns for Miss Dietrich by: Jean Louis

Sound: James Speak

Photography: Ernest Laszlo

Editor: Frederick Knudston

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