Witness for the Prosecution

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Witness for the Prosecution is a 1957 film about a man who is accused of murdering a rich woman for her fortune, and his German-immigrant wife (the title witness) and her testimony. It was based on a story by Agatha Christie and directed by Billy Wilder, and starred Charles Laughton, Marlene Dietrich and Tyrone Power .


(Sir Wilfrid is cross-examining Christine Helm.)
Sir Wilfrid: Mrs Vole. Or Mrs Helm; which do you prefer to be called?
Helm: It does not matter.
Sir Wilfrid: Does it not? In this country, we are inclined to take a rather more serious view of marriage. However, Frau Helm, it would appear that when you first met the prisoner in Hamburg, you lied to him about your marital status?
Helm: I wanted to get out of Germany, so—
Sir Wilfrid: You lied, did you not? Just yes or no, please.
Helm: Yes.
Sir Wilfrid: Thank you. And subsequently, in arranging the marriage, you lied to the authorities?
Helm: I, um, did not tell the truth to the authorities.
Sir Wilfrid: You lied to them?
Helm: Yes.
Sir Wilfrid: And in the ceremony of marriage itself, when you swore to love and to honor and to cherish your husband, that, too, was a lie?
Helm: Yes.
Sir Wilfrid: And when the police questioned you about this wretched man who believed himself married and loved, you told them—
Helm: I told them what Leonard wanted me to say.
Sir Wilfrid: You told them that he was at home with you at 25 minutes past 9, and now you say that that was a lie? [beginning to chuckle now]
Helm: Yes, a lie!
Sir Wilfrid: And when you said that he had accidentally cut his wrist, again, you lied? [chuckling again]
Helm: Yes!
Sir Wilfrid: [chuckling further] And now today you've told us a new story entirely! [serious now] The question is, Frau Helm, were you lying then, are you lying now, or are you not in fact a chronic and habitual LIAR?!

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