View Full Version : Recommendations Please
11-08-2007, 08:06 PM
I'm busily writing a scene in my next book that takes place during a murder trial in the Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey). I have collected a number of reference books, including H.H. Crippen & Thomas Neill Cream's Trials (Notable Trial Series), Rumbelow's Triple Tree and various images to give me an idea of the layout of the courtroom. All of those have been of great assistance.
Can you recommend any movie or documentary that shows the internal workings of the court in the late Victorian Era? (Accuracy is very important.) I could watch Rumpole of the Bailey, but I'm a bit skittish that modernisms might work into my story if I rely on something from this time period. :typing:
Yeah, I know I'm writing fiction. I just love to have that non-fiction edge.
11-08-2007, 09:00 PM
See if these may fill your bill....
Francis Hopkinson, producer of The Jury, explains that the Old Bailey was chosen as the backdrop for the film for two reasons. "First, it is iconic and a symbol of British justice. And secondly, there is a sense that it is the place where the most appalling trials take place. We were given access to the Great Hall for two days which was fantastic. No one has ever been allowed to film inside the Old Bailey before so it was a great privilege.
'The Jury is filmed through the eyes of the jurors, revealing the ways in which each of them is affected by the case both in and out of the courtroom. It tackles racism and crime head on without brushing round it, as well as challenging the legal system and revealing what goes on within it. Finally, it deals with the emotions of a teenage boy being tried by 12 complete strangers.'
Looks like your best bet, but some of these may be useful:
11-08-2007, 09:37 PM
Thanks Tim! You're great. :tea:
I'll see if I can come up with an episode of The Jury. Unfortunately, the current Old Bailey was built after the turn of the century so it's not exactly like 1888. We were outside of the building during our last trip to London, but their requirements (no cameras, cell phones, note taking, bags, etc). made it impossible to enter after one has been trucking around all day taking reference photos, etc. I didn't want to leave the hubby on the street while I spent a couple of hours listening to closing arguments. When I next return (without hubby), I will do that, but of course the book will be out by then (sigh).
I was just wondering if there was some movie or tv series that portrays a British court trial from that time period. I know it's not going to 100% accurate, but it will get me a bit closer. I don't remember any in Masterpiece Theater's Sherlock Holmes series. Christie is too late. Oscar Wilde's trial is a bit later, but maybe there's a movie about him complete with trial scene. Hummm...
11-08-2007, 09:40 PM
Forgive my memory, but didn't A Tale Of Two Cities have a scene at the Old Bailey.
I know it's outside your timeframe, but I remember a particularly good version of "A Witness For The Prosecution" that showed the Old Bailey to good effect.
11-08-2007, 09:45 PM
Well, the Old Bailey just missed the LVP, being built in 1907. I have to admit that I had not known it was built on the site of the famous Newgate prison.
In this case, your best bet is to look at one of the many Victoriana references in our collection to see if there is anything you can use. I do not ever remember seeing any photos of inside British courts from that era.
Of course, you could always ask a talented author who solved the case with her heart, head, and laptop......
11-09-2007, 08:18 AM
Good point, Tim. I'll check out the references. I just thought if someone knew of a movie off the top of their head that would save some digging. I have photos and illustrations. What I'm looking for is a sense of how the trial was run. I can read the trial transcripts, but that doesn't fill in the finer details.
You know, you're right. I should have asked her right off the bat. (Slaps forehead). What was I thinking?
11-09-2007, 08:32 AM
You could always try The Tichborne Claimant - more info here.....
11-09-2007, 11:27 AM
Thanks, Raven. Any movie that has Fry, Gielgud and Hardy sounds like a winner. I'll see if I can rent it (yeah right) and if not, I'll buy a copy and then figure out how to view it since it's PAL, not NTSC.
Two countries, separated by a common language and two VHS formats.
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