Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Maxwell Anderson combined the Sacco-Vanzetti story with elements of the still-unsolved disappearance of Judge Crater, and the result was the blank-verse theatrical piece Winterset. Burgess Meredith, Margo and Eduardo Cianelli repeat their Broadway roles, respectively playing the grown son of an executed political radical, the woman who loves and stands by Meredith, and a menacing gangster with plenty to hide. 15 years after the execution, Meredith endeavors to clear his father's name, and to that end seeks out the judge (Edward Ellis) who presided over the trial, now a drunken, guilt-ridden derelict. Screenwriter Anthony Veiller remove most of Anderson's flowery dialogue and substituted a happy ending for the original play's cynically tragic denouement. Neither of these changes hurt the property, and in fact were heartily endorsed by Maxwell Anderson himself. But depression-era audiences, too wrapped in their own current problems to shed tears over the long-dead Sacco and Vanzetti, stayed away from Winterset in droves.
radical, execution, false-accusation, family, name-clearing, son, father