Boswell for the Defence

Michael Caine

Director: Bruce Beresford
Screenwriter: Patrick Edgeworth
Starring: Michael Caine, Michael Gambon, Samantha Morton
Production details: AUS/UK/GER 2001
Full details: not listed at IMDb
Genre: Comedy-drama
Rating: not applicable

Status: permanent limbo

Pre-production was halted in July 2001, a week before the start of principle photography, due to lack of funding. The partners - Australian Beyond Films, Britain's Scala Productions (home of Steve Wooley and Nik Powell) and German funding outfit MBP - announced that they had managed to raise only 90% of the production budget and would therefore have to postpone.

It was hoped that the three main actors and the director could have been brought together in 2002, if the money was subsequently found. It was not to be.

Film synopsis

London, 1792. The great lawyer and noted biographer James Boswell (Michael Caine) has seen better days. Now regarded as a drunken but charming has-been, Boswell is unable to find work as a lawyer, and is the butt of jokes among his colleagues. But just as his hope is running out, he is offered an almost impossible case to defend a young woman named Mary Broad (Samantha Morton), condemned to the gallows for a daring escape from a penal colony in Australia.

At first Boswell refuses. But he is touched by her plight and in the end reluctantly agrees to try to plea her case before the only man in London who can waive her sentence, the Lord Advocate Dundas (Michael Gambon), a fellow Scotsman and friend of his youth. Dundas is a hardliner where justice is concerned, and has stoutly refused every request ever made to him by his old friend.

In this poignant, often comic rendering of an episode in Boswell's life, two lost souls draw strength from each other to achieve the impossible.

From Beyond's publicity release