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Lawyers are fascinated by the portrayal of themselves in movies. Entire law review articles — indeed, entire books — have been devoted to the subject. Just last month, an academic institution in Southern California hosted a symposium on lawyer movies. The event ran a full day, and featured a distinguished federal appellate judge as keynote speaker. Ultimately, though, all of these analyses are shallow because they are limited to the usual cinematic suspects: “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Twelve Angry Men,” “The Verdict.” A full treatment of the subject would find legal themes hidden in unlikely places. The history of lawyers in cinema may be found in the following famous but often mistaken titles: “Birth of a Motion” (1915) (D.W. Griffith’s pioneering work on civil litigation) “Duck Suit” (1933) “The Man Who Sued Too Much” (1934) “The Counts of Monte Cristo’s Complaint” (1934) “Immunity on the Bounty” (1935) “Annotated Karenina” (1935) (Greta Garbo — with pocket parts) “Lease Miserables” (1935) “The Laws of the Mohicans” (1936) “Captains Cardozo” (1937) “Bringing Up Bailey: (1938) (Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant have their hands full raising the zany Boston trial lawyer) “The Trademark of Zorro” (1940) “Arsenic and Old Laws” (1944) “A Fee Grows in Brooklyn” (1945) “It’s a Wonderful Life Estate” (1946) “Great Expectation Damages” (1946) “Twenty Years to Life with Father” (1947) “Trial of the Sierra Madre” (1948) “A Streetcar Named De Jure” (1951) “Flying Lawyernecks” (1951) (John Wayne leads a squadron of airborne litigators) “Show Boat” (1951 musical chronicles the life of professor Alan Dershowitz) “Suin’ in the Rain” (1952) “From Here to Attorney’s Fee” (1953) “Animal Firm” (1954 animated version of Orwell’s classic) “Dial Rem for Joinder” (1954) “Rebel Without a Cause of Action” (1955) “Injunction of the Body Snatchers” (1956 and 1978 versions) “Breach on the River Kwai” (1957) “Court on a Hot Tin Roof” (1958) “Jury to the Center of the Earth” (1959) “Summary, Last Summer” (1959) “Swiss Family Brosnahan” (1960) (the San Francisco litigator and his family find themselves stranded) “Lexodus” (1960) “El Cite” (1961) “The Hustler” (1961) (stars Jackie Gleason as Minnesota Fiats) “Reprimand for a Heavyweight” (1962) “The Manchurian Advocate” (1962) “Warren of Arabia” (1962) (the former chief justice makes new law out of sand) “Lord of the Files” (1963) “Antonin and Clarence Patter” (1963) (two Supreme Court justices play themselves talking law on the Nile) “My Fair Lawyer” (1964) (Rex Harrison sings “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Your Case”) “That Darn Court” (1965 and 1997 versions) “The Spy Who Came in from the Code” (1965) (Richard Burton undertakes covert legal research) “The Sound of Meeses” (1965) (the former attorney general and his family sing “Claim Every Mountain”) “Vaughn Walker’s Express” (1965) (heroic federal judge leads escape from German POW camp) “The Good, the Bad and the Obligee” (1966) “To Cert with Love” (1967) “I Am Spurious” (Yellow) (1967) “Learned Hand Luke” (1967) (based on the judge’s little-known prison stay) “The Lawyer in Winter” (1968) “Night of the Living Deed” (1968) “Plaintiff of the Apes” (1968) “The Prima Facie Case of Miss Jean Brodie” (1969) “Butch Capacity and the Summoned Kid” (1969) “Willy Rehnquist and the Chocolate Factory” (1969) (the chief justice shows young visitors how delicious results are manufactured) “They Sue Horses, Don’t They?” (this 1969 documentary sparked the birth of the animal rights movement) “Patent” (1970) (George C. Scott leads Allied troops against Nazi infringers) “The Sorrow and the Party” (1970) “Five Easy Mouthpieces” (1970) “McCabe and Arthur Miller” (1971) (Harvard law professor woos a San Francisco judge) “Breyer’s Song” (1971) (James Caan portrays the future Supreme Court justice) “The Garden of the Finzi-Kozinskis” (1971) (foreign) “The French Kozinski” (1971) (Gene Hackman plays the crusading 9th Circuit judge) “Shaft” (1971) “Trials with My Aunt” (1972) “Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Scalia” (1974) “That’s Attestation!” (Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire host this 1974 tribute to probate showstoppers) “Farewell My Lawyer” (1975) “The Outlaw Josey’s Wills” (1976) “Statutory Night Fever” (1977) “Voir Dire Hunter” (1978) “Partnership Down” (animation) (1978) “Co-minors’ Daughter” (1980) “Raging Bailiff” (1980) “The French Lieutenant’s Lawyer” (1981) “Claimants of the Lost Ark” (1981) “Punies from Heaven” (1981) (musical version of the tobacco litigation) “The Relevant Man” (1982) “Cohen the Barbarian” (1982) (the life of FDR’s legal advisor, Ben Cohen) “The Writ Stuff” (1983) “The Termination Clause” (1984) (Arnold Schwarzenegger vows: “I’ll be Bork”) “Interrogatory Jones and the Template of Doom” (1984) (the early career of Judge Edith Jones) “Case of the Spider Woman” (1985) “Desperately Serving Susan” (1985) “Hannah and Her Lawyers” (1986) ” ‘Crocodile’ Donee” (1986) “Facial Attraction” (1987) “Reno-Cop” (the former attorney general plays a strict law enforcer in the 1987 film and the 1990 and 1993 sequels) “Full Metal Docket” (1987) “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Joint Venture” (1989) “Honey, I Shrunk the Courts” (1989) (includes a cameo by former Senator Slade Gorton) “Deposing Miss Daisy” (1989) “Dicta Tracy” (1990) “Dances with Wills” (1990) “Edward Scrivener-Hands” (1990) “Boies N the Hood” (1991) “Dissent of a Woman” (1992) (stars Ruth Bader Ginsburg) “A Lien of Their Own” (1992) “Strictly Bail Room” (1992) “ERISA Runs Through It” (1992) (Robert Redford looks at Montana tax law) “Cardozo’s Way” (1993) “Juristic Park” (1993) “Four Headings and a Codicil” (1994) (Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell revise their will) “The Lawyer King” (animation) (1994) “Tort Story” (animation) (1995) “Reinhardt” (1995) (Mel Gibson plays a valiant federal judge fighting to free Scotland) “Eviction” (1996) (Madonna sings “Don’t Cry for Me, “Arbitrator”) “Motion: Impossible” (1996) “Liar Liar” (1997) “Men in Blackstone” (1997) “Good Will Drafting” (1997) “Suing Private Ryan” (1998) “Moot Joe Black” (1998) “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” (2000) (George W. Bush seeks legal assistance for the Florida recount) “Crouching Client, Hidden Lawyer” (2000) Lawrence J. Siskind of San Francisco, Calif.’s Harvey Siskind Jacobs specializes in intellectual property law. He can be reached at [email protected]

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