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Sunday May 19th 2024

Anatomy Of A Murder | 2012

As Hollywood moved toward more realistic, 'adult' subjects in the late Fifties, the glossy artifice of the studios looked increasingly inappropriate. While scouting exterior locations, director Otto Preminger made the bold decision to dispense with studio filming and move the entire production up to the book's setting of Michigan's water-hemmed Upper Peninsula, filming on real locations when possible.

Although Robert Traver's book was based on actual events – the trial of a soldier accused of shooting the man he believes raped his wife – the blue-collar town of 'Iron City' and the nearby lakeside resort of 'Thunder Bay' are fictitious.

Their real-life counterparts, where Preminger filmed, are Ishpeming and Marquette.

Marquette is on I-41 on the Lake Superior coast of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, and Ishpeming about 15 miles west.

Behind the 'Traver' pseudonym was Michigan Supreme Court Justice John Voelker and Voelker's house in Ishpeming became the home and law office of his alter ego Paul Biegler (James Stewart).

Similarly, the 1905 red sandstone Marquette County Courthouse, 234 West Baraga Avenue, was used for the courtroom scenes. Transformed into a temporary studio, the entire second floor of the building was taken over by the film company, with defendant Lt Manion (Ben Gazzara) held in its cells.

Also in Marquette was the waterfront lunch stand where Biegler and old soak McCarthy (Arthur O'Connell) debate whether or not to defend Manion, and the hospital where McCarthy ends up after a road smash.

Barney Quill's bar, scene of the murder, is two different places – the interior is the Tripoli Bar in Ishpeming (supposedly where the actual shooting occurred and, legend has it, where the bullet holes were preserved by the proprietor.

In the movie, it's the bar of the 'Thunder Bay Inn', which was the Bay View Inn, now the Thunder Bay Inn, 400 Bensinger Street, Big Bay, about 20 miles north of Marquette. The motel didn't have a bar so the one-storey 'Tavern Bar' extension was built – and subsequently preserved as a tourist attraction.

Over in Ishpeming, are the 'law library', where Biegler digs out legal precedent – which is not a law institution but Ishpeming Public Library, 317 North Main Street – and Ishpeming Railroad Depot, the station where McCarthy meets the army psychiatrist.

The 'Thunder bay' trailer park where Manion and his wife Laura (Lee Remick) live is a real trailer camp about 25 miles west of Ishpeming in Michigamme.