The People Against O'Hara

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The People Against O'Hara
Poster of The People Against O'Hara.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by John Sturges
Produced by William H. Wright
Screenplay by John Monks Jr.
Based on the novel The People Against O'Hara 
by Eleazar Lipsky
Starring Spencer Tracy
Pat O'Brien
James Arness
Music by Carmen Dragon
Cinematography John Alton
Edited by Gene Ruggiero
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
  • September 1, 1951 (1951-09-01) (United States)
Running time
102 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1,025,000[1][2]
Box office $1,695,000[1]

The People Against O'Hara is a 1951 film noir directed by John Sturges and based on Eleazar Lipsky's novel. The movie features Spencer Tracy, Pat O'Brien, and James Arness.[3]


James Curtayne (Tracy) has retired from law, but he returns to defend John O'Hara (Arness) on a murder charge. Curtayne's drinking and rustiness result in O'Hara being found guilty, but Curtayne makes further efforts to prove him innocent.



According to MGM records the film earned $1,107,000 in the US and Canada and $588,000 elsewhere, resulting in a $22,000 profit.[1]

Critical response[edit]

Film critic Dennis Schwartz gave the film a favorable review, writing, "John Sturges capably directs this routine formula courtroom crime thriller. Writer John Monks Jr. adapts Eleazar Lipsky's novel The People Against O'Hara to the screen. Cinematographer John Alton does his usual fine job in photographing the glossy black-and-white film and in using the authentic New York City locations to give it a film noir look ... It's not the usual strong role Spencer Tracy is noted for, but he acquits himself well as the vulnerable lawyer who is indecisive and plagued with a battle against the bottle. Tracy agreed to the part only if his longtime pal Pat O'Brien was given a featured part. O'Brien was passe to the studio and was being passed over for roles in A films."[4]


  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study .
  2. ^ Glenn Lovell, Escape Artist: The Life and Films of John Sturges, University of Wisconsin Press, 2008, p. 69.
  3. ^ The People Against O'Hara at the American Film Institute Catalog.
  4. ^ Schwartz, Dennis. Ozus' World Movie Reviews, February 8, 2005. Accessed: July 8, 2013.

External links[edit]