Search - Studio One: The Defender on DVD

Studio One: The Defender
Studio One The Defender
Actors: Martin Balsam, Ralph Bellamy, Steve McQueen, William Shatner
Genres: Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2006     2hr 10min

A live television courtroom drama first shown in 1957 as a two-hour special. A CBS "Studio One" presentation, this was the pilot for the series that would feature Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford and others wh...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Martin Balsam, Ralph Bellamy, Steve McQueen, William Shatner
Genres: Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Drama, Drama, Classic TV, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Video Service Corp
Format: DVD - Black and White
DVD Release Date: 06/06/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/1950
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1950
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 2hr 10min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Live TV at its best
Bennet Pomerantz | Seabrook, Maryland | 03/25/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Studio One made a name for itself doing teleplays for television. These plays were preformed like stage shows for the camera. Most were shot on video live. In the late 1970's CBS destroyed most of these viseo tapes.

The Defenders video tape survived. I know how nor why. If you are a Star Trek Fan, this 1957 tele-play has the acting talents of William Shatner, long before he donned the Star Fleet uniform of James T Kirk and beamed aboard the Starship Enterprise. He plays the son of a father and son legal team. You see, even before he was Denny Crane of TV's Boston Legal, he was a lawyer

This teleplay also starred Ralph Bellamy (as Shatner's Legal eagle father), Steve McQueen (before he was in TV's Wanted: Dead or Alive and the movies The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape) and Martin Balsam.

This was the age of Live TV. However, You could not find a flub in these two episodes of live TV. Nor could you find a bad preformance in these shows

If you are fan of TV history, The Defenders became a regular TV series in the 1960's. Bellamy's father role was played by E.G. Marshall & Shatner by Robert Reed (TV Brady Bunch).

If you are a fan of old TV, a good collection to showcase classic Television

Bennet Pomerantz, AUDIOWORLD"
Classic drama at its best
GreatMovieCriticForever | 12/16/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Studio One was one of the better drama shows ever made. Created around 1948 it featured a multitude of young stars that would become Hollywood Legends like Natalie Wood, Charlton Heston, John Forsythe to name a few. This episode features three great stars: Richard Bellamy, William Shatner and Steve McQueen. Bellamy was already an established actor while Shatner and McQueen weren't even in their acting prime.

This is before Shatner's career arrived on Star Trek and McQueen became a big Hollywood star. In fact his acting on this probably broke upon his career as well as Shatner's (nine years before Star Trek). Shatner plays a lawyer, Kenneth Preston, defending a man, Joseph Gordon wanted for murder (McQueen). Ralph Bellamy is Walter Preston and Kenneth's dad. Kenneth believes in Joseph's innocence but Walter does not especially since Joseph is prone to violent outburst. It also does not help the fact that several witness (including Joseph's ex-girlfriend) point him as the bad guy.

Nevertheless, both father and son team do a great job in poking holes in witness testimony, and raise reasonable doubt and give the young Gordon a chance to survive.

Like I said great acting by all three. Shatner has been known to overact his roles (including Star Trek) but he is rolling on all cylinder showing the young brilliance that he also shown in TV episodes of the Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

After this great episode there is a great documentary on the history behind Studio One that is really worth checking out.

Parts of this episode were used for BL "Son of the Defender" but really that episode doesn't do justice to how brilliant this two part episode really was. Forget about that episode and see this video today."
Not As Great As Sliced Bread
Andy the Actuary | St. Louis, MO USA | 07/29/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"While the acting is superb, it is inconceivable that anyone other than a first year law student would have the conscience issues of the veteran attorney portrayed by Ralph Bellamy. Making it more absurd is that it takes a didactic oration from the prosecuting attorney (Martin Balsam)to get Bellamy to absorb that the defense attorney's role does not include judging his client. Finally, that the prosecuting attorney does not perceive the courtroom stunt is totally unbelievable.

What is scary is how old the actors appear. Ian Wolfe, who played the judge, while 65, looked 90. Bellamy looks far older than his 54 years. Vivian Nathan, who played McQueen's mother, was only 36. Even Shatner looks older than 26 and McQueen much older than 19.

You may purchase this video on DVD from Amazon. It can be played with and without commercials. The Westinghouse commercials are incredibly campy. Does the viewer really care that WH created a breaking system for weaving machines? Apparently, in the 1950s, Madison Avenue thought they did.

Perhaps time has tarnished the golden age of television.