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Three for Jamie Dawn

Three for Jamie Dawn(1956)

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After heiress Jamie Dawn shoots and kills her lover, Dawn's secretary, Helen March, hires unprincipled attorney Marv Random to defend her. During the jury selection process for Dawn's trial, Random identifies three jurors whom he believes he can influence to acquit his client: Anton Karek, a recently naturalized immigrant from Czechoslovakia, George Lorenz, an impoverished family man; and Lorrie Delacourt, a failed, bibulous actress. Murph, one of Random's unscrupulous investigators, visits these jurors in turn. At the Karek house, Murph poses as a representative of an international organization engaged in trying to reunite families and tells Julia, Anton's wife, that he may be able to locate the young son they were forced to leave behind when they fled Czechoslovakia. Murph then visits the Lorenz home, posing as a vacuum cleaner salesman, and learns from Sue, George's wife, that they are very short of money and that one of their young daughters is sick and needs expensive medication. Later, Lorrie, who lives in a run-down neighborhood and survives by giving acting lessons, receives a phone call from Granville Dixon, the producer of her one hit play, with the news that an admiring backer is interested in reviving it. When the trial does not go well for Random, he instructs Murph to put pressure on the three jurors. Murph then visits Julia and informs her that her son may have been located, but that his organization's sole, financial backer, The Dawn Foundation, is withdrawing support until its founder, Jamie Dawn, is found innocent. Julia becomes convinced that she and Anton will never see their son again if Dawn is found guilty and tries to influence Anton's decision, but he tells her that he cannot allow his integrity to be compromised. Although Sue takes a part-time job against George's wishes, the Lorenz family is still in deep financial trouble. On his way home one night, George is contacted by Murph, posing as a representative of a magazine publisher, and is offered ten thousand dollars to write an article after the trial's conclusion on "Why I Found Jamie Dawn Not Guilty." When George discusses the offer with Sue, she refuses to allow him to perjure himself. Meanwhile, Murph has informed Dixon of the backer's true identity, Jamie Dawn, and made it clear that there will be no production unless she is acquitted. Desperate for a second chance at life, Lorrie admits to Dixon that she is prepared to vote in favor of Dawn's innocence. Meanwhile, Random bribes a movie usher, Gordon Peters, to lie on the witness stand that he overheard Dawn's lover threaten to kill her. At the end of the trial, when the jury retires to consider its verdict, Anton is appointed foreperson and calls for a vote. The result is nine to three for guilty, with Anton, George and Lorrie voting not guilty. No member of the trio is aware that the two others have been similarly influenced. A debate on the issues begins and the jurors' families are advised that they are being sequestered for the night. When the discussion resumes the next day, despite efforts by some jurors anxious to reach a verdict, another vote produces the same result as before. In his office, Random pays off Murph and Peters and tells them to leave town. Eventually, George realizes that he must do the right thing and Anton, influenced by George's strength, joins him and they mutually agree to change their vote. Unable to continue alone, Lorrie breaks down and also votes guilty. Dawn is then found guilty of murder in the second degree. Outside the courtroom, Sue and the children embrace George, while Julia tells Anton that she has realized she was wrong and that somehow they will find a way of reuniting with their son. Inside, a police detective brings Peters to confront Random and tells him that the young man has confessed to his role in the trial. The detective also informs the now-ruined Random that Murph has been arrested and that the district attorney is expecting to interview him the following morning.