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First Monday in October

Where to Watch First Monday in October

R
1981

First Monday in October is a 1981 American courtroom drama-comedy film directed by Ronald Neame and co-written by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee. The film stars Walter Matthau and Jill Clayburgh and features supporting performances by Barnard Hughes, Jan Sterling, and James Stephens. This film was the last project of Jan Sterling, a prominent Hollywood actress from the '50s.

The title is a nod to the day on which the United States Supreme Court traditionally convenes following summer recess. The film primarily dwells on the competitive yet comical banter between two Supreme Court Justices

with contrasting perspectives on the American judiciary.

Walter Matthau leads the film as Justice Daniel Snow, an old-school, conservative judge. Known for his sagacious outlook and sharp wit, Matthau's character embodies the traditional viewpoint on constitutional law. He is deeply skeptical of drastic systemic changes and completely committed to perpetuating long-standing justice norms. Matthau's performance is spot-on, offering humorous moments mixed with a subtle, underlying seriousness that touches upon the profound importance of his character's role.

On the other side of the bench is the newly appointed Justice Ruth Loomis, portrayed by Jill Clayburgh. As the first woman ever appointed to the Supreme Court, Loomis is smart, efficient, progressive, and not afraid to challenge the outdated perspectives of her colleagues. Clayburgh's performance is vibrant and powerful, brilliantly capturing the essence of a woman struggling to assert her legitimacy in a male-dominated arena. She faithfully represents the courtroom's liberal side, advocating for change and progression in the face of archaic judicial conservatism.

The film opens when the sitting liberal Justice dies unexpectedly, and the fictional U.S. President, seizes the opportunity to make a landmark appointment: the first woman Justice. This unanticipated move rattles the conservative Justice Snow and sets the stage for an unforgettable showdown between two legal giants with diametrically opposing viewpoints. Snow firmly believes in the strict interpretation of the constitution, whereas Loomis brings a more liberal perspective to the forefront, causing ripples in the judicial pond.

While the film deals with serious and significant topics surrounding gender equality, legal interpretation, and socio-political change, it does so with a touch of humor and light-heartedness. It offers a compelling clash of ideologies without losing its comedic timing. The witty dialogues and clever rapport between Matthau and Clayburgh are worth noting, keeping the audience entertained while still driving the narrative forward.

The supporting cast includes Barnard Hughes as Chief Justice Crawford, providing a steady hand at the helm of the Court. Jan Sterling and James Stephens also contribute significantly, each adding unique layers to the ensuing drama and comedy unfolding within the hallowed halls of the judicial institution.

First Monday in October goes beyond just providing laughs. It presents a thought-provoking glance into the American judicial system. The film questions existing power structures, challenges gender biases, and offers a unique perspective into the functioning of the highest court in the land. Ronald Neame's unique handling of the direction ensures that, while the subject matter may seem intrinsically heavy, it is rendered palatable to the average viewer through the incorporation of light humor and engaging screenplay.

On the technical side, the film stands to note for its engaging screenplay, well-grounded performances, and excellent direction, managing to position the Supreme Court as a vibrant and fascinating backdrop to the unfolding story.

In conclusion, First Monday in October can best be described as a legal drama with a comedic twist. With its stunning cast and thought-provoking premise, this film provides a refreshing take on the verbal jousting displayed in the courtrooms and delves deep into a poignant commentary on sexism and conservatism vs. liberalism within the judicial system. It is a must-watch for fans of legal dramas, humor, and insightful storytelling.

First Monday in October is a Comedy, Drama movie released in 1981. It has a runtime of 98 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 6.4..

How to Watch First Monday in October

Where can I stream First Monday in October movie online? First Monday in October is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent First Monday in October for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

6.4/10
Director
Ronald Neame
Stars
Walter Matthau, Jill Clayburgh, Barnard Hughes
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