Anatomy ‘59 is a behind-the-scenes documentary by independent filmmaker John Pepin which explores the events leading up to and including the making of Otto Preminger’s classic 1959 courtroom thriller Anatomy of a Murder. The movie starred James Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara and George C. Scott.
In Anatomy ‘59, Preminger’s focus on realism to create what many consider to be the greatest courtroom drama ever made is showcased through rare film clips and photographs, documents and interviews with cast members, locals and others with ties to the production of the motion picture.
Preminger’s film was shot entirely on location in Marquette County in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula over a period of eight weeks. Six weeks after that, the film had its world premiere in Detroit. Duke Ellington provided the score, which proved to be a stand alone jazz masterpiece.
Anatomy of a Murder was based on a No. 1 bestselling book by local attorney John Voelker, who used the pen name Robert Traver. Traver’s groundbreaking narrative was developed from a true-life 1952 murder trial. During those proceedings, Voelker defended an Army lieutenant accused of first-degree murder.
John Pepin (pictured) is an Ishpeming, Michigan native who grew up on the same street where the Voelker family home used in the movie is located. During the production of Anatomy of a Murder, the cast stayed at The Mather Inn, which is also found on Barnum Street.
Major funding for “Anatomy ’59” provided
by grants from:
Henry Ebeling of Norway, Michigan
The John D. Voelker Foundation