One review on 27 Dec 2020


The Trial

Director : Orson Welles 

Summary: Based on the Kafka book, a slow burning monochrome bad dream.


  • Anthony Perkins  Josef K
  • Romy Schneider  Leni
  • Orson Welles  The Advocate

Aspect Ratio: Standard

Colour: Black & White

Sound: Talkie

Tech Notes: Camera : 0. Talkie

Film Category

First Seen: Sun 27th Dec 2020
Catalogued: 28th Dec 2020


Anthony Perkins plays Joseph K who wakes to find the secret police in his room. They cannot say with what he his charged, or even at first if if he is arrested. 3 work colleagues are there to witness the arrest, although he is not detained. His landlady and the dancer who occupies the adjacent room appear. The dancer seems interested in him but upset fearing she will be drawn into his case. All conversation is elliptical. At work in a vast office where he is deputy manager of the department, his 15 year old cousin turns up, but he will not see her. His boss already knows of his arrest and "case". The police collect him after work and direct him to a hearing where he makes an impassioned speech to no avail. His uncle turns up from the country and introduces to his old friend, the advocate, Orson Welles, to help him. The advocate's nurse/mistress makes advances to Joseph. Going home he finds the landlady has evicted the dancer. At work he finds the secret policemen being punished in the stationary cupboard because he seems to have accused them of corruption. Returning to the court/hearing he finds it deserted but encounters the guard's wife who was previously making eyes at him and now promises to help him before she is carried off by the guard as she is wanted by the judge. But the court is only the outermost court and the judges only the lowest of the judges. Joseph determines to sack the advocate and handle the case himself. The advocate's other client, a pathetic wretch, is seen as a supplicant before the advocate, who is only the most junior of advocates in the lowest of the courts. The nurse offers advice pointing Joseph at the painter of portraits of judges who might help him. 


by rogerco on Sun 27th Dec 2020 Streamed proj @ home

The Trial that is never reached


Stunning depiction of a flawed narrative

Full review

Low camera angles, deep focus, angular black and white, distorted scales. Classic film representation of nightmares. Both exteriors and interior scenes expansive in scale. Shades of Citizen Kane. A little overlong. I can't remember the book well enough to say how well it follows Kafka's blueprint, and the cinematic fireworks perhaps conceal the weakness at the heart of the story - it's vision of life as inherently incomprehensible.