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(aka 'Live Today For Tomorrow' or "I Stand Accused")

Directed by Michael Gordon


An Act of Murder stars Fredric March as a husband faced with an impossible predicament in this controversial drama that was well ahead of its time. Calvin Cooke (March), a no-nonsense judge in a small Pennsylvania town, finds his thoughts turning to end the life of his beloved wife Cathy (Florence Eldridge) when he learns that she has an incurable disease and is suffering from unbearable pain. He decides to move forward with his plan and then surrenders himself to the police. Defended by a brilliant attorney (Edmund O’Brien), Cooke goes on trial for his life in a case that will decide if he’s legally guilty of murder or morally innocent of killing his wife.


Theatrical Release: November 29th, 1948

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DVD Review: Universal 'Vault Series' - Region 0 - NTSC

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Distribution Universal - Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 1:31:06 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.46 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s   
Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles None

Release Information:
Studio: Universal

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• None

DVD Release Date: November 15th, 2015

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Chapters: 9





I really enjoyed An Act of Murder - A recommendation from a subscriber to our Twitter account. It takes an early look at "mercy killing" or "euthanasia" - and it does a fine job of it.

The disc is predictably single-layered and has no menus, or extras, and the transfer is interlaced (see combing in bottom capture.) It has a prominent vertical scratch (also see below) that runs for a few minutes hear the end of the film. Overall, aside from that, it didn't look bad at all on my system. In fact - it was quite watchable with pleasing contrast for SD.

The audio is indicative of the period - - but consistent enough that dialogue is always audible. The score by Daniele Amfitheatrof (The Desperate Hours, Human Desire, Letter From An Unknown Woman) and does a decent job supporting the film's emotional moments. There are no subtitles and the media is region free in the NTSC standard.

The bare-bones DVD inferiorities didn't deter my viewing pleasure and I got something positive out of An Act of Murder. There is comfort seeing Fredric March and Edmond O'Brien with excellent casting in Florence Eldridge and Geraldine Brooks. The difficulty in endorsing this DVD is the exorbitant price and lack of supplemental value. It's a good film especially for those who love vintage work from this period and the performers... good, refreshing concept too. It's buyable at a sawbuck ($10) - not much more.

Gary Tooze


Screen Captures





























Persistent vertical scratches (right edge)


Combing from interlaced transfer


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Universal - Region 0 - NTSC
Recently Released Essential Noirs



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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r


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