Synopsis by Hal Erickson
The positive public response to such productions as Crossfire and Gentleman's Agreement led to a mini-cycle of postwar anti-prejudice films. One of these was The Vicious Circle, based on a true incident which had previously been dramatized in G. W. Pabst's The Trial. In the late-19th century, an anti-Semitic Hungarian baron (Reinhold Schunzel) foments a pogrom against his country's Jews when a 14-year-old servant girl commits suicide. Falsely accused of subjecting the girl to a ritualistic murder, five Jewish farmers are put on trial for murder. Defying the slings and arrows of public condemnation, defense attorney Karl Nemensch (Conrad Nagel) intends to prove the farmers' innocence -- and to expose anti-Semitism for the poisonous scourge that it truly is. The Vicious Circle was based on The Burning Bush, a play by Herald and Geza Herczeg.
accusation, discrimination, false-accusation, innocence, killing, landowner, lawyer, murder, prejudice, suicide, suicide-attempt, trial [courtroom]