Fictional Attorney of the Month: Paul Biegler

Anatomy of the Murder is one of the very best courtroom dramas ever filmed. It concerns a homicide in Michigan's rural Upper Peninsula, an Army Lieutenant accused of killing an innkeeper. The defendant's wife contacts Paul Biegler, played by Jimmy Stewart, to represent her husband.

Biegler faces off against the sophisticated prosecutor Claude Dancer, portrayed by George C. Scott, called in to help the small-town case. Dancer and Biegler are formidable foes for one another.

The film is notable not simply for its dramatic courtroom scenes but also for the charged topics it deftly introduces, especially a rape allegation that provides the bulk of the defense's case. Biegler perhaps stretches his ethical bounds in an attempt to zealously represent his client in a case that takes him in directions he'd never have anticipated.

It's a phenomenal script for a film beautifully shot with a stellar cast, but a movie often forgotten today. But Biegler's memorable role make him this month's Fictional Attorney of the Month.