(1968)2Craig ButlerA really well-done courtroom thriller makes everything look so easy that it takes a film like Hostile Witness to make one appreciate how hard it is to create a satisfying film of this sort. Witness is not a disaster, but it's a fairly unengrossing little exercise that tries the patience of the viewer. One of Witness' flaws is that it's a bit confusing, but that fact alone doesn't have to be a detriment; one need only look at The Big Sleep to see how a totally confusing film can still be an incredible cinematic joyride. The problem with the confusion in Witness is that neither the scenarist nor the director finds a way to keep one's mind off this flaw; there's simply not enough originality here to make one shrug and forget the problems. As a result, the credibility gap that can be common in this type of film becomes very noticeable in Witness and hard to ignore. Perhaps if director Ray Milland had any visual flair or a real feel for creating suspense, Witness would have worked better; but he doesn't and as a result the film too often just lays there. Milland fares slightly better as an actor, but this is not one of his better performances; he strains and pushes entirely too much. Aside from Sylvia Sims, no one else comes across particularly well either.