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I. Bibliographies and Research Aids

II. General Works

III. Videography

IV. Webliography

V. Exhibits

VI. Special Topics

VIA. Human Rights and Drama: General Materials

VIB. Juries

VIC. Right to a Fair Trial

VID. The Intersection Between Law School and Drama School

Bibliographies and Research Aids

Breen, Jon L., Novel Verdicts: A Guide to Courtroom Fiction (1984).

Gilbar, The "10 Best" Courtroom Novels Ever, 2 California Lawyer 71 (1982).

General Works

The image of the courtroom as a theater in which life and death dramas are played is a very common one. A related topic is the presence of cameras in the courtroom. What effect does breaching "the fourth wall" have on the behavior of lawyers, judges, juries, parties and spectators? Do they "play to the camera" as some charged during the O.J. Simpson murder trial? See Internet Resources on Cameras in the Courtroom.

Algeo, Ann M., The Courtroom as Forum: Homicide Trials by Dreiser, Wright, Capote, and Mailer (Dissertation, Lehigh University, 1992).

Algeo, Ann M., The Courtroom as Forum: Homicide Trials by Dreiser, Wright, Capote, and Mailer (1996)(Modern American Literature; 1).

Alsop, J. D., A Law Student's Attendance at the London Theatre, 1628-9, 35 Theatre Notebook 32 (1981).

Amely-Pauleikhoff, Petra, Recht und Drama: Analyse und Strukturvergleich (1988). (Doctoral Dissertation, Westfńlische Wilhelms-Universitńt zu Munster, 1988)

Applebaum, A. M., Law, Lawyers and the Theatre, 32 Los Angeles Bar Bulletin 273 (1957).

Bauer, Kara Michelle, The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth: A Critical Examination of Daytime Courtroom Drama and the Whole of Daytime Television (Master's thesis, Ohio State University, 1990).

Ball, Milner S., The Play's the Thing: An Unscientific Reflection on Courts Under the Rubric of Theater, 28 Stanford Law Review 81 (1975).

Barthes, Roland, Writers--Intellectuals--Teachers, in Image 192 (1977).

Barthes, Roland, Mythologies (Annette Lavers, trans. 1972).

Includes Dominici, or the Triumph of Literature, at 43. Discussion of the real-life trial record of a shepherd as literature.

Barthes, Roland, The Eiffel Tower and Other Mythologies (Richard Howard, trans. 1979).

Bassett, James Arthur, Signatory Modernism: The Trial of Law as a Literary Device (Master's Thesis, University of South Carolina, 1978).

Beavis, Mary Ann, The Trial Before the Sanhedrin (Mark 14:53-65): Reader Response and Greco-Roman Readers, 49 Catholic Biblical Quarterly 581 (1987).

Boerner, Dorothy Payne, The Trial Convention in English Renaissance Drama (Dissertation, University of Maryland, 1980).

Bryson, Anne Gilmour, From Medieval MSS to Homicide Investigation, in Sixth International Conference on Computers and the Humanitites 206 (Sarah K. Burton and Douglas D. Short, ed. 1983).

Capo, Kay Ellen, How to Act During an Interrogation: Theatre and Moral Boundaries, 70 Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal (Knoxville TN) 219 (Spring/Summer 1987).

Complainte et DÚtail de la ProcÚdure Criminelle de la Femme Braiser (179-?) (Eighteenth Century French Literature). One Microform reel, 35 mm. Contains poem about the crime as well as a version of the trial.

Cohen, Cynthia B., The Trials of Socrates and Joseph K., 4 Philology and Literature 212 (1980).

Crapsey, A. S., Religion, Drama and the Law, 18 Case & Comment 587 (1912).

Daleiden, Jonna B., Gender Conflict in Legal Drama (Bachelor's Thesis, Lake Forest College, 1994).

Domotor, Tekla, The Cunning Folk in English and Hungarian Witch Trials, in Folklore Studies in the Twentieth Century 183 (Venetia J. Newall ed., 1980).

Dorsey, John Thomas, The Courtroom Drama in Postwar Germany and America (Dissertation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1979).

Duke, Winifred, The Law in Drama, 38 Juridical Review 55 (1926).

Ellis-Fermor, U., The Jacobean Drama (1936; 2d ed. 1947; 3d ed. 1953; 4th ed. 1958; 5th ed. 1965).

Discusses legal training of various playwrights including Beaumont, Marston, Ford and Middleton.

Everding, August, Theater und Justiz, 37 Neue Juristische Wochenschrift 1087 (1984).

Falleti, Heidi E., Contrasting Distortions: The Trial as Novel and Film, in Transformations: From Literature To Film 165 (Douglas Radcliff-Umstead, ed. 1987). 

Fiction Goes to Court: Favorite Stories of Lawyers and the Law Selected by Famous Lawyers (A. Blaustein, ed. 1954).

Gabelmann, Hanns, Antike Audienz- und Tribunalszenen (1984).

Harbinger, Richard, Trial By Drama, 55 Judicature 122 (October 1971).

Jerome, Jerome K., Stageland--The Lawyer

Jordan, William Chester, Approaches to the Court Scene in the Bond Story: Equity and Mercy or Reason and Nature, 33 Shakespeare Quarterly 49 (Spring 1982).

Klibansky, Erich, Gericht▀zene und Prozessform in erzahlenden deutschen Dichtungen des 12-14. Jahrhunderts (1925)(Germanische Studien; 40).

Klibansky, Erich, Gericht▀zene und Prozessform in erzahlenden deutschen Dichtungen des 12-14. Jahrhunderts (1925; repr. Kraus Reprint, 1967).

Lavery, Emmet, Felix Frankfurter and the Theater, 51 American Bar Association Journal 1162 (1965).

Lindenberger, Historical Drama: The Relation of Literature and Reality (1975).

Luban, David, Some Greek Trials: Order and Justice in Homer, Hesiod, Aeschylus, and Plato, 54 Tennessee Law Review 279 (1987). Symposium: The Many Futures of Jurisprudence.

Malcolm, Janet, The Trial of Aloysha, New York Review of Books, June 14, 1990, at 38.

McNulty, A. P., "The Verdict Is Yours": Problems of TV Courtroom Drama, 46 American Bar Association Journal 67 (1960).

Miller, Jeremy M., Essay and Play: Law's Estrangement From Drama, 18 Western State University Law Review 265 (1990).

Minogue, Valerie, Trials of Life: An Inaugural Lecture Delivered at the University College of Swansea on 2 November, 1982 (1982).

Newton, Henry Chance, Crime and the Drama; or, Dark Deeds Dramatized (1970).

O'Cathasaigh, Tomas, Varia, III: The Trial of Mael Fothartaig, 36 Eriu (Dublin, Ireland) 177 (1985).

Ostreicher, Nancy, Trial Scenes in Medieval Romance: The Evolution of Their Structure and Function (Dissertation, Columbia University, 1980).

Quirk, Tom, The Judge Dragged to the Bar: Melville, Shaw, and the Webster Murder Trial, 84 Melville Society Extracts 1 (Feburary 1991).

Reznik, G. M. and L. S. Simkin, "Beskorystnyi" Prestupnik v Zhinzni i na Stsene, 56 Sovetskoe Gosudarstvo i Pravo 12 (September 1986).

Rosenthal, E., Trials in Fiction, 1 South African Law Times 97 (1932).

Rosenthal, E., Trials in Fiction, 1 South African Law Times 67 (March 1932).

Schrager, Samuel, Trial Lawyers as Storytellers, in 1986 Festival of American Folklife 12 (Thomas Vennum Jr., ed. 1986).

Sielicki, Krzystof, Stagecraft, Rhetoric, Debate, 2 Cardozo Studies in Law and Literature 217 (1990).

Simonett, John E., The Trial as One of the Performing Arts, 52 American Bar Association Journal 1145 (1966).

Stone, Isidor F., The Trial of Socrates (1988).

Themis & Thespis: Something About Lawyer Dramatists, 18 Case & Comment 595 (1912).

West, John F., The Ballad of Tom Dula: The Documented Story Behind the Murder of Laura Foster and the Trials andExecution of Tom Dula (1970).

Welsh, Alexander, Stories of Things Not Seen, in Strong Representations 2 (1992).

Zatt, Marilyn P., Theatre of Fact: A Reevaluation of Five Representative Courtroom Dramas (Master's thesis, State University of New York, Albany, 1976).


One of My Wives Is Missing (TVM 1976). Remade as Vanishing Act (TVM 1986). A man reports his new wife missing; the question is, does she exist?

Rehearsal for Murder (TVM 1982). A playwright decides to reconstruct the death of his fiancee through a new play.

Vanishing Act (TVM 1986). Mike Farrell is the bewildered newlywed in this version of the play Trap For a Lonely Man; remake of  One of My Wives Is Missing.


Anatomy of a Murder (interactive website)

The 19th Century London Stage: An Exploration


  • University of Texas Law School, Tarlton Law Library Exhibit: "Law on Stage: Where Law and Theater Collide".

The Law Library's fall semester 1999 exhibit "highlights several connections between the legal world and the world of the theatre. Included are materials on legal costume, courtroom dramas, and theater regulation. The main portion of the exhibit illustrates the role of the English Inns of Court in the development of early modern drama. Also prominent is the display on law "follies", the comedic revues of law societies. The exhibit is composed of photographic reproductions of rare book and manuscript materials from Tarlton Law Library's Rare Books & Special Collections as well as the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center's Library and Theatre Arts Collection. The exhibit is open to the public in the Law School Atrium and will be on view from September 20, 1999 to January 3,   2000. For additional information, contact the exhibit's curator, Stephanie Swenson Towery, at the Tarlton Law Library, (512) 232-3802 or via email at stowery@mail.law.utexas.edu."

 VI. Special Topics

A. Human Rights and Drama: General Materials

Drama and Film

Listservs Devoted to Law and the Arts

HUMLAW-L Send subscription requests to humlaw-l to listproc@assocdir.wuacc.edu.

Websites of Interest

B. Juries

On the jury in the trial movie see Carol J. Clover, God Bless Juries! in Refiguring American Film Genres: History and Theory 255 (Nick Browne ed.; 1988), Carol J. Clover, Judging Audiences: The Trial Movie, in Film Studies 142 (Christine Gledhill and Linda Williams eds.; 1998), and Carol J. Clover, Movie Juries, 48 DePaul L. Rev. 389 (1998).

One of the common themes in jury movies is the individual juror's examination of his or her biases, which relates directly to the question of the possibility of justice.

Movies that feature juries include

Adam's Rib (MGM, 1949). Extensive voir dire scenes.

Anatomy of a Murder

Double Take

Inherit the Wind (). Voir dire scenes.

The Juror (1996).

Jury Duty (TriStar/Sony Video, 1995).

A Jury of Her Peers (1980). Based on the story by Susan Glaspell.

A Killer Among Us (DBA Entertainment, 1990). A jury member begins to suspect a fellow juror is guilty of the crime. 

Ladies of the Jury

Member of the Jury (1937).

Musical Justice (Paramount Pictures, 1931). Three sketches involving Rudy Vallee on law-related themes.

Perfect Strangers (Warner Brothers, 1950). Ginger Rogers and Dennis Morgan find themselves on a jury, fall in love. Based on the play Ladies and Gentlemen by Ben Hecht.

Swing Vote (TVM 1999). A newly appointed juror finds himself in the position of having to decide the guilt or innocence of a woman who had an abortion.

Trial By Jury (1972). Filmed version of W. S. Gilbert's operetta. Other versions are dated 1974, 1982.

Trial By Jury (Warner Brothers Video, 1994). Plot similar to that of The Juror (1996). A woman juror is pressured to acquit a defendant.

Twelve Angry Men (Orion Home Video, 1997). See Twelve Angry Men.  This film has been recast in both all-female and gender-neutral versions. See references below:

  • Film Versions

    • Twelve Angry Jurors (Indiana University Bloomington School of Law Video, 2000).
    • Twelve Angry Men (Key Video, 1985).
  • Adaptations
    • Reginald Rose, Twelve Angry Women (1955).
  • Bibliography
  • Beyond "twelve angry men : a jury deliberation (1993). Taken from 23 Ariz. St. L.J. (Spring 1991) and Fed. Rep. 2d series.
  • Ken Hogarty, A Marriage of Form and Content: Teaching Twelve Angry Men, in National Council of Teachers of English (1990)(Classroom Practices in Teaching English; 25).
  • McNelis, Mary A., Twelve Angry Jurors: Learning Through Drama (Master’s thesis, Adelphi University, 1968).
  • Readings on Twelve Angry Men (Russ Munyon ed.; 2000)(Greenhaven Press Literary Companion to American Literature).
  • Study guide for Twelve angry men by Reginald Rose : strategies for teaching the play (1990).

We the Jury (TVM 1996). A jury is faced with deciding between manslaughter and murder.

We're On the Jury (1937).

Television series that feature juries include

Trial by Jury (1987), hosted by Raymond Burr.

C. Right to a Fair Trial. 

In war crimes trials films like The Andersonville Trial and Judgment at Nuremberg the question is whether the judicial system can deliver due process according to principles of natural law or of some specific legal system. In films like Town without Pity, a film set in post-war Germany, an American soldier faces rape charges, an issue brought into today's headlines by recent events in Japan. In Cry Freedom and similar films the filmmakers turn their attention to legal systems that actively repress the expression of fundamental human rights, whether the country be South Africa, the USSR, or the United States. Judge Horton and the Scottsboro Boys reexamines accusations of rape brought against nine black men by two white women in the Depression South, clearly evoking the active dislike and distrust of minority groups rampant in the United States during that period. Franz Kafka's famous novel The Trial, adapted several times into film, suggests that the legal system itself is fundamentally unknowable, therefore flawed.


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