during the trial; the testimony of annold man, who says that he heard a bodynfall to the floor of the apartment abovenhim and that he then hastened to thenstairwell where he saw the accused runningndown the stairs; and finally, thentestimony of a middle-aged bachelornwoman who says she saw the accusednactually stab his father just as an elevatedntrain was passing by her apartment.nPresumably, what Fonda does is tonundermine the conclusiveness of thenevidence. As I mentioned, he demonstratesnthat the knife is not unique. Henthen goes through a laborious demonstrationncalculated to show that the elderlynmale witness, who apparently hasna pronounced limp, could not havenreached the stairwell in the time he saidnhe did, nor could he have heard a bodynfall while the elevated train was passingnby; and finally, the old man jurornsuddenly remembers that the bachelornlady witness had eyeglass marks on thenbridge of her nose, though she did notnwear glasses at the trial, and on his rememberingnthis, other jurors suddenlynhave their own memories restored.nThey agree that she must have needednglasses and that she would not havenbeen wearing them while lying in bedntrying to go to sleep. Also, they concludenthat the elevated train wouldnhave blocked her view, so that shencould in no way have seen what shensaid she saw. The jurors now havenerased all the testimony, not becausenthe witnesses intentionally perjurednthemselves, but because they were falliblenhuman beings whose testimonyncould not be taken at face value. Thenold man witness wanted attention, sonhe convinced himself that he had actuallynseen the accused running downnthe stairs. The middle-aged lady wasnalso frustrated in her life and thereforenshe, too, convinced herself that she hadnseen something worth reporting.nThe last three holdouts on the jurynare Begley, Marshall, and Cobb. Fromnthe first we are led to infer that the de­n30 inChronicles or Culturenfendant is a member of an oppressednminority. Like one of the other jurorsn(Jack Klugman), the defendant wasnraised in the slums. Begley “knows”nthese “types.” They are all alike, henfulminates. They put no value on humannlife. Fonda, hearing this, suffersnsuch drivel in silence. All of this isnbeside the point, which is “Is there anreasonable doubt.'” Marshall holds outnon pure logic. The boy had a motive tonkill his father and the testimony of thenwitnesses indicated that he did. ButnMarshall folds when he remembers seeingnthe eyeglass marks on the lady witness.nCobb is the last to go down. Henhas been hysterical most of the time.nThe kid must be punished. Baited bynFonda, Cobb threatens to kill him,nthereby proving, presumably, that whennthe defendant made the same threatnto his father, subsequently murdered,nhe did not mean the threat any morenthan Cobb did. But no one ever ascertainsnwhether Cobb really meant hisnthreat or not and whether he might notnindeed kill Fonda, given the opportunity.nUltimately, the truth emerges thatnCobb really wants to punish his ownnson and would do so vicariously by convictingnthe defendant of murdering hisnfather.nAsked by the gloating and triumphantnFonda his reasons for continuingnto vote guilty when everyone else isnnow experiencing reasonable doubt, theninarticulate Cobb breaks down andncries. Unlike Fonda, he cannot stand upnto the pressure when he is down byneleven to one. He changes his vote andnthe defendant is acquitted. The tone ofnthe ending is one of general satisfaction.nThe jurors are all pleased withnthemselves, and in the final scene,nFonda and the old man introduce themselvesnto each other (the first timennames are spoken) and then each goesnhis own way. We are led to feel thatnjustice has been served. One courageous,nintelligent, principled man hasnmade the system work.nBut when one ponders the new casenbuilt by Rose-Fonda in the jury room,nnnit turns out to be quite as flimsy as thenoriginal case apparently presented bynthe prosecuting attorney. Take, first,nthe business of the eyeglass marks. Ifnthe woman appeared to testify withoutnwearing glasses and nobody noticed hernstimibling or feeling her way around,nthen we could assume that she mightnnot have needed glasses for normal,neveryday activities. In fact, manynmiddle-aged people have good generalnvision but need glasses for reading ornfor doing detail work. Moreover, thenchances are that the marks on thenbridge of the woman’s nose would notnhave been visible (especially at the distancenfrom the jury box to the witnessnstand) since such marks disappear in anshort time once the pressure is removed.nThe witness who testified thatnhe heard a thump might have heard thenthump even if the elevated train wasnpassing by, since the noise made by anbody falling upon the ceiling over one’snhead is different in nature from thensound of a train and would not necessarilynblend in. As far as Fonda’s demonstrationnthat the old man could notnhave reached the stairwell in the timenhe said, it ignores the fact that in annemergency or imagined emergency anperson moves faster than he does whennnot under pressure.nDoes this film prove, then, that justicenwas served 7 In fact the film seemsnto indicate, not that the jury systemncan be made to work by a high-principlednman, but that it can be underminednby a person who is strong-willed,narticulate, and derives ego gratificationnfrom manipulating other people. Rose’snscript demonstrates exactly how unreliablenrun-of-the-mill human beingsnare. A clever con man can talk themnout of what they have firmly believed.nWhen we begin to view the events ofnthe film from this perspective, anothernclever device surfaces. Rose gives usnFreudian vignettes of the “bad guy,”nLee J. Cobb, but he is careful to keepnFonda cloaked in mystery. What arenFonda’s hang-ups ? Could it be that byn