Taglines: When a murder case is this shocking, which do you trust… your emotions or the evidence?
San Francisco heiress Page Forrester is brutally murdered in her remote beach house. Her husband Jack is devastated by the crime but soon finds himself accused of her murder. He hires lawyer Teddy Barnes to defend him, despite the fact she hasn’t handled a criminal case for many years. There’s a certain chemistry between them and Teddy soon finds herself defending the man she loves.
Jagged Edge is a 1985 American film starring Jeff Bridges, Glenn Close, Peter Coyote, Maria Mayenzet, Lance Henriksen, Dave Austin, Richard Partlow and James Karen. It is a courtroom thriller, written by Joe Eszterhas and directed by Richard Marquand. Robert Loggia was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role.
About the Story
An intruder in a black mask and clothing ties up San Francisco socialite Page Forrester at her remote beach house, kills her with a jagged-edged hunting knife, and writes the word “Bitch” on the wall with her blood. Her husband Jack (Bridges) later recovers in a clinic with a bloody head wound, claiming to have been knocked unconscious and awakened to find Page’s body.
After Page’s funeral, Jack is arrested by DA Thomas Krasny (Coyote) for her murder, based on evidence that includes a witness at a club who saw a hunting knife in Jack’s locker; medical suggestion that Jack’s head wound was self-inflicted; Jack’s fingerprints, which were found at the crime scene with Page’s; and Jack’s inheriting all of Page’s corporate and personal assets in the event of her death. Forrester tries to hire high-profile lawyer Teddy Barnes (Close) to defend him after hearing of her high success rate, but Barnes used to work for Krasny and is reluctant to take the case, as she stopped working in criminal law after an incident with Krasny.
Krasny runs into Barnes. He tells her, “Henry Styles hanged himself in his cell,” which distresses her. Barnes visits Sam Ransom (Loggia), another private detective who used to work for Krasny’s office. Ransom stopped private investigations at the same time that Barnes left Krasny’s office, and it becomes clear that the Styles case was the reason. Barnes decides to take the case on the condition that Jack does not lie to her. Results from a polygraph test that Forrester takes indicate that his testimony is truthful.
While preparing for the trial, Barnes and Forrester spend a great deal of time together and eventually end up having a series of wild sexual romps. Ransom warns Barnes that Forrester is just trying to make her care more about his case. Barnes replies that she is aware of that. Her office then begins receiving anonymous typed letters that mention things about the case, especially that Forrester is innocent. All of the letter t’s are slightly raised, and analysis determines that they were written on a 1942 Corona typewriter.
In a pre-trial meeting, Barnes tells the judge that Krasny has a history of not meeting his discovery obligations. The prosecution’s case relies mainly on circumstantial evidence. A jilted woman claims that Page told her she was divorcing Jack, but Barnes discredits her with evidence, including a love letter, that her advances had been rejected by Jack, causing Page to cut off all communication with her.
Krasny calls a witness who had an affair with Forrester. The details of her relationship with Forrester are eerily similar to the way he seduced Barnes. Krasny also interviews a man named Bobby Slade who claims he had an affair with Page around the same time Forrester had an affair. Barnes threatens to drop the case. She agrees to proceed because of a sense of duty, but she now believes that Forrester is guilty.
Barnes also questions Bobby Slade about his affair with Page and becomes slightly suspicious of his being guilty, especially after he begins making angry remarks at her and follows her to her car. Barnes then questions another member of the club who claims that he had a hunting knife in his locker, numbered 222, while Jack’s is numbered 122. When it is shown in court, the member says that it is his, although the club witness says it is not the knife he saw, considering it is scratched up and the handle is worn.
Jagged Edge (1985)
Directed by: Richard Marquand
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Glenn Close, Peter Coyote, Maria Mayenzet, Lance Henriksen, Dave Austin, Richard Partlow, James Karen
Screenplay by: Joe Eszterhas
Production Design by: Gene Callahan
Cinematography by: Matthew F. Leonetti
Film Editing by: Sean Barton, Conrad Buff
Costume Design by: Ann Roth
Set Decoration by: Jerry Wunderlich
Art Direction by: Peter Landsdown Smith
Music by: John Barry
Distributed by: Columbia Pictures
Release Date: October 4, 1985