“The Medusa Touch” is a British movie released in 1978. The film starred Richard Burton as barrister (British courtroom attorney) John Morlar. The movie was based on a novel of the same name written by Peter Van Greenaway. The film was directed by Jack Gold.
The courtroom scene is essentially a monologue by Richard Burton. Burton’s character, Morlar, delivers an impassioned, powerful, harsh criticism of British society’s preoccupation with war and trophies, exhibits and artifacts of same. The scene involves Morlar’s defense of his client against a charge of bombing a war museum. Morlar’s argument is haunting in the respect that it rings true many years later and resonates today for our society in the United States, as well.
Burton’s character becomes overcome with emotion and zeal in his advocacy that he claims in an extreme and exaggerated manner that he, too, would have committed the bombing if he knew how to do it, based on what he knew of the museum and its purposes in promoting and celebrating war and its trappings. Instead, the barrister argues that there was no bomb and no crime, so, there can be no punishment.
Rather, the true defendant should be the British establishment and not his client. After all, his client just protested and attacked the establishment and the Imperial War Museum’s mission with words. But, the establishment and society are the ones that should be held to defend their actions for bringing a person to trial merely for verbal criticism. To Morlar, his client cannot be held liable or capable of an event (the bombing) that did not happen, as there was no crime and no bomb.
Information and data contained in this post gathered in association with Chicago Car Accident Attorneys at Friend, Levinson & Turner Ltd.