A semi-retired Michigan lawyer (James Stewart) takes the case of an army lieutenant (Ben Gazzara) who murdered a local innkeeper after his wife (Lee Remick) claimed that he raped her. Pleading temporary insanity, the defendant’s case seems to rest on the victim’s mysterious business partner (Kathryn Grant), who is hiding a dark secret.
Barry Adamson: “Director Otto Preminger handpicked Duke Ellington to write the soundtrack to this 1959 courtroom drama. Ellington made the most of the opportunity. With its stamina and incendiary horn blasts, the title brings the lascivious sub genre of ‘crime jazz’ to full fruition. At the other end of the jazz spectrum, the muted blues of Midnight Indigo has the entire orchestra almost at a whisper, murmuring along while tracks like Sunset Sunday show Ellington’s mastery at coaxing specific voices from the ‘symphonic din’. Cooke Mervin noted that Ellington also avoids cultural stereotypes which previously characterised jazz scores and rejects a strict adherence to visuals in ways that presaged the New Wave cinema of the sixties.”