Anatomy of a Murder is a 1959 American courtroom drama crime film produced and directed by Otto Preminger. The screenplay by Wendell Mayes was based on the novel of the same name written by Michigan Supreme Court Justice John D. Voelker under the pen name Robert Traver. Voelker based the novel on a 1952 murder case in which he was the defense attorney.
The film stars James Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara, Eve Arden, George C. Scott, Arthur O'Connell, Kathryn Grant, Brooks West (Arden's husband), Orson Bean, and Murray Hamilton. The judge was played by Joseph N. Welch, a real-life lawyer famous for dressing down Joseph McCarthy during the Army-McCarthy hearings. This was one of the first mainstream Hollywood films to address sex and rape in graphic terms. It includes one of Saul Bass's most celebrated title sequences, a musical score by Duke Ellington, who also appears in the film, and has been described by a law professor as "probably the finest pure trial movie ever made".
|Anatomy of a Murder|
Theatrical release poster by Saul Bass
|Directed by||Otto Preminger|
|Produced by||Otto Preminger|
|Screenplay by||Wendell Mayes|
|Based on||Anatomy of a Murder|
by Robert Traver
George C. Scott
|Music by||Duke Ellington|
|Edited by||Louis R. Loeffler|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures Corporation|
|Box office||$11 million|
In the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, small-town lawyer Paul Biegler (Stewart), a former district attorney who lost his re-election bid, spends most of his time fishing, playing the piano, and hanging out with his alcoholic friend and colleague Parnell McCarthy (O'Connell) and sardonic secretary Maida Rutledge (Arden).
One day, Biegler is contacted by Laura Manion (Remick), to defend her husband US Army Lieutenant Frederick "Manny" Manion (Gazzara), who has been arrested for the first-degree murder of innkeeper Bernard "Barney" Quill. Manion does not deny the murder, but claims that Quill raped his wife. Even with such a motivation, getting Manion cleared of murder would be difficult, but Manion claims to have no memory of the event, suggesting that he may be eligible for a defense of irresistible impulse—a version of a temporary insanity defense. Biegler's folksy speech and laid-back demeanor hide a sharp legal mind and a propensity for courtroom theatrics that has the judge busy keeping things under control. However, the case for the defense does not go well, especially since the local district attorney (Brooks West) is assisted by high-powered prosecutor Claude Dancer (Scott) from the Attorney General's office.
Furthermore, the prosecution tries at every instance to block any mention of Manion's motive for killing Quill. Biegler eventually manages to get the rape of Laura Manion into the record and Judge Weaver (Joseph N. Welch) agrees to allow the matter to be part of the deliberations. During cross-examination, Dancer insinuates that Laura openly flirted with other men, including the man she claimed raped her. Psychiatrists give conflicting testimony to Manion's state of mind at the time that he killed Quill. Dancer says that Manion may have suspected Laura of cheating on him because he asked his wife, a Catholic, to swear on a rosary that Quill raped her. This raises doubt as to whether the act was non-consensual.
Quill's estate is to be inherited by Mary Pilant (Kathryn Grant), whom Dancer accuses of being Quill's mistress. McCarthy learns that she is in fact Quill's daughter, a fact she is anxious to keep secret since she was born out of wedlock. Biegler, who is losing the case, tries to persuade Pilant that Al Paquette (Murray Hamilton), the bartender who witnessed the murder, may know if Quill admitted to him of raping Laura but Paquette is covering this up, either because he loves Pilant or out of loyalty to Quill. Through Pilant, Biegler is unable to get Paquette to testify on behalf of Manion.
During the trial, Laura claims that Quill tore off her panties while raping her; the panties were not found where she alleges the rape took place. Pilant, unaware of any details of the case, testifies that she found the panties in the inn's laundry room. Biegler suggests Quill may have attempted to avoid suspicion by dropping the panties down the laundry chute, located next to his room. Dancer tries to establish that Pilant's answers are founded on her jealousy. When Dancer asserts forcibly that Quill was Pilant's lover and that Pilant lied to cover this fact, Pilant shocks everyone by stating that Quill was her father. Manion is found "not guilty by reason of insanity". After the trial, Biegler decides to open a new practice, with a newly sober McCarthy as his partner.
The next day, Biegler and McCarthy travel to the Manions' trailer park home to get Manion's signature on a promissory note which they hope will suffice as collateral for a desperately needed loan. It turns out the Manions have vacated the trailer park, the trailer park superintendent commenting that Laura Manion had been crying. Manion left a note for Biegler, indicating that his flight was "an irresistible impulse", the same justification Biegler used during the trial. Biegler states that Mary Pilant has retained him to execute Quill's estate; McCarthy says that working for her will be "poetic justice".
On July 31, 1952, Lt. Coleman A. Peterson shot and killed Maurice Chenoweth in Big Bay, Michigan. Voelker was retained as defense attorney a few days later. The trial started on September 15, 1952, and Assistant Attorney General Irving Beattie assisted Marquette County Prosecuting Attorney Edward Thomas. Voelker used a rare version of the insanity defense called irresistible impulse that had not been used in Michigan since 1886. The jury deliberated for four hours on September 23, 1952, before returning a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity. Two days later, after Peterson was examined by a psychiatrist who judged him sane, he was released. Peterson and his wife were divorced soon after the trial. Hillsdale Circuit Court Judge Charles O. Arch, Sr. tried the case because of the illness of a local judge.
The film was shot in several locations in the Upper Peninsula (Big Bay, Marquette, Ishpeming, and Michigamme). Some scenes were filmed in the Thunder Bay Inn in Big Bay, Michigan, one block from the Lumberjack Tavern, the site of the 1952 murder that inspired much of the novel. Though the film was set in and filmed in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, the world premiere for the 1959 film was held at the United Artists Theater in Detroit.
The film examines the apparent fallibility of the human factor in jurisprudence. In various ways all of the human components—the counsels for defense and prosecution, the defendant and his wife, and the witnesses have their own differing positions on what is right or wrong, and varying perspectives on integrity, justice, morality and ethics. It is to be noted that the reliance on credibility of witnesses, and the "finding of facts" based upon those determinations, is the "Achilles heel" of the judicial process.
One controversial legal issue in this film is possible witness coaching, a violation of legal canons. The only plausible legal defense Lt. Manion has—the insanity defense—is virtually spelled out to a befuddled Manion by his prospective counsel, who then temporarily suspends the conversation and suggests that Manion rethink his factual/legal position. Witness coaching by the prosecution is even more blatant as they call in other jail inmates awaiting sentencing to testify against Manion, and is portrayed as subornation of perjury to an extent. The first suggests that the defendant may be concealing the truth and manipulating his story in order to obtain the best possible verdict, and the latter that the prosecution dangled a possible lighter sentence through plea bargain as an incentive to perjury.
The language used during the film startled Chicago, Illinois, Mayor Richard J. Daley, and his police commissioner. As a result, the film was temporarily banned in the heavily Catholic city. Preminger filed a motion in federal court in Illinois and the mayor's decision was overturned. The film was allowed to be exhibited after the court determined that the clinical language during the trial was realistic and appropriate within the film's context. In another federal lawsuit in Chicago, the daughter of the real-life murder victim from the 1952 case sued Dell Publishing and Columbia Pictures in July 1960 for libel over accusations that the book and movie "followed [the actual trial] too closely" and portrayed the two women in an unflattering light; the suit was dismissed less than a year later in May 1961.
Anatomy of a Murder has been well received by members of the legal and educational professions. In 1989, the American Bar Association rated this as one of the 12 best trial films of all time. In addition to its plot and musical score, the article noted: "The film's real highlight is its ability to demonstrate how a legal defense is developed in a difficult case. How many trial films would dare spend so much time watching lawyers do what many lawyers do most (and enjoy least)—research?" The film has also been used as a teaching tool in law schools, as it encompasses (from the defense standpoint) all of the basic stages in the U.S. criminal justice system from client interview and arraignment through trial. The film was listed as No. 4 of 25 "Greatest Legal Movies" by the American Bar Association.
The film earned an estimated $5.5 million in rentals in the U.S. and Canada during its first year of release.
Film critics have noted the moral ambiguity, where a small town lawyer triumphs by guile, stealth and trickery. The film is frank and direct. Language and sexual themes are explicit, at variance with the times (and other films) when it was produced. The black and white palette is seen as a complement to Michigan's harsh Upper Peninsula landscape. The film is "[m]ade in black-and-white but full of local color".
Bosley Crowther, film critic for The New York Times said, "After watching an endless succession of courtroom melodramas that have more or less transgressed the bounds of human reason and the rules of advocacy, it is cheering and fascinating to see one that hews magnificently to a line of dramatic but reasonable behavior and proper procedure in a court. Such a one is Anatomy of a Murder, which opened at the Criterion and the Plaza yesterday. It is the best courtroom melodrama this old judge has ever seen... . Outside of the fact that this drama gets a little tiring in spots—in its two hours and forty minutes, most of which is spent in court—it is well nigh flawless as a picture of an American court at work, of small-town American characters and of the average sordidness of crime."
In June 2008, the American Film Institute revealed AFI's 10 Top 10, the best 10 films in 10 "classic" American film genres, after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. Anatomy of a Murder was selected as the seventh best film in the courtroom drama genre.
Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 100% of 42 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating was 8.6/10. The site's consensus states, "One of cinema's greatest courtroom dramas, Anatomy of a Murder is tense, thought-provoking, and brilliantly acted, with great performances from James Stewart and George C. Scott."
|Anatomy of a Murder|
|Soundtrack album by|
|Recorded||May 29 and June 1–2, 1959|
Radio Recorders, Los Angeles
|Duke Ellington chronology|
The jazz score of Anatomy of a Murder was composed by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn and played by Ellington's orchestra. Several of Ellington band's sidemen, notably Johnny Hodges, Paul Gonsalves, Harry Carney, Russell Procope, and William "Cat" Anderson, are heard prominently throughout the film, and Ellington himself appears briefly as "Pie-Eye," the owner of a roadhouse where Paul Biegler (Stewart) and Laura Manion (Remick) have a confrontation.
Despite being heard "in bits and pieces" the score "contains some of his most evocative and eloquent music... and beckons with the alluring scent of a femme fatale." Including small pieces by Billy Strayhorn, film historians recognize it "as a landmark—the first significant Hollywood film music by African Americans comprising non-diegetic music, that is, music whose source is not visible or implied by action in the film, like an on-screen band." The score avoids cultural stereotypes which previously characterized jazz scores and "rejected a strict adherence to visuals in ways that presaged the New Wave cinema of the '60s."
Detroit Free Press music critic Mark Stryker concluded: "Though indispensable, I think the score is too sketchy to rank in the top echelon among Ellington-Strayhorn masterpiece suites like Such Sweet Thunder and The Far East Suite, but its most inspired moments are their equal." The score employs a "handful of themes, endlessly recombined and re-orchestrated. Ellington never wrote a melody more seductive than the hip-swaying "Flirtibird", featuring the "irresistibly salacious tremor" by Johnny Hodges on the alto saxophone." A stalking back-beat barely contains the simmering violence of the main title music" The score is heavily dipped in "the scent of the blues and Ellington's orchestra bursts with color." The AllMusic review by Bruce Eder awarded the album 3 stars calling it "a virtuoso jazz score—moody, witty, sexy, and—in its own quiet way—playful".
Ellington's score won three Grammy Awards in 1959, for Best Performance by a Dance Band, Best Musical Composition First Recorded and Released in 1959 and Best Sound Track Album.
|The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide|||
All tracks written by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, except as indicated.
|1.||"Main Title/Anatomy of a Murder"||3:57|
|3.||"Way Early Subtone"||3:59|
|4.||"Hero to Zero"||2:11|
|5.||"Low Key Lightly"||3:39|
|6.||"Happy Anatomy" (band-movie version)||2:35|
|8.||"Almost Cried" (studio)||2:26|
|11.||"Happy Anatomy" (P.I. Five version[a])||1:28|
|12.||"Upper and Outest"||2:23|
|CD reissue bonus tracks|
|13.||"Anatomy of a Murder" (stereo single)||2:44|
|14.||"Merrily Rolling Along (aka Hero to Zero)/Sunswept Sunday" (movie stings & rehearsal)||3:49|
|16.||"Happy Anatomy" (band-studio five version)||2:43|
|17.||"Polly (aka Grace Valse, Haupe, Low Key Lightly, Midnight Indigo)"||3:35|
|18.||"Polly" (movie stings)||3:54|
|19.||"Happy Anatomy" (Dixieland version)||2:15|
|21.||"Almost Cried (aka Flirtibird)" (P.I. Five/movie version)||2:13|
|22.||"Soundtrack Music: Anatomy of a Murder (Duke Ellington a la Guy Lombardo)"||2:29|
|23.||"Anatomy of a Murder" (mono single in stereo)||2:36|
|24.||"The Grand Finale (Rehearsal/Lines/Interview/Music/Stings/Murder)"||10:47|
After Traver's novel was published, St. Martins Press planned to have it adapted for the stage, intending a Broadway production, which would then be made into a film. Before he died in December 1957, John Van Druten wrote a rough draft of the play adaptation. Some time after that, the publisher then made the film rights available, and these were purchased by Otto Preminger.
The making of the film is the subject of the song, "Marquette County, 1959", by Great Lakes Myth Society. The lyrics read: "Jimmy Stewart came to Marquette County in 1959/ And he was shot for two months there/ And all the pines wept stardust for a while/ And the Duke would play his soundtrack there/ As Preminger had cast him in the film/ His character was Pie-Eye".
The 13th British Film Awards, given by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 1960, honoured the best films of 1959.17th Golden Globe Awards
The 17th Golden Globe Awards, honoring the best in film for 1959 films, were held on March 10, 1960.2nd Annual Grammy Awards
The 2nd Annual Grammy Awards were held on November 29, 1959, at Los Angeles and New York. Hosted by Meredith Willson, this marked the first televised Grammy Award ceremony, and it was aired in episodes as special Sunday Showcase. It was held in the same year as the first Grammy Awards in 1959, and no award ceremony was held in 1960. These awards recognized musical accomplishments by performers for that particular year. Frank Sinatra and Duke Ellington each won three awards.32nd Academy Awards
The 32nd Academy Awards ceremony, presented by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, was held on April 4, 1960 and took place at the RKO Pantages Theatre to honor the best films of 1959.
The epic drama Ben-Hur won 11 Oscars, breaking the record of nine set the year before by Gigi. Ben-Hur remained the most honored motion picture in Academy Award history until Titanic equaled the feat in 1997, followed by The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in 2003.
Ben-Hur was the third film to win both Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, a feat not repeated until Mystic River in 2004. Director William Wyler became the third (and most recent) person to win more than two Best Director awards (following Frank Capra and John Ford), as well as the only person to direct three Best Picture winners.Arthur O'Connell
Arthur Joseph O'Connell (March 29, 1908 – May 18, 1981) was an American stage and film actor. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for both Picnic (1955) and Anatomy of a Murder (1959). He made his final film appearance in The Hiding Place (1975), portraying a watch-maker who hides Jews during World War II.Ben Gazzara
Biagio Anthony Gazzarra (August 28, 1930 – February 3, 2012), known as Ben Gazzara, was an American film, stage, and television actor and director. His best known films include Anatomy of a Murder (1959), Voyage of the Damned (1976), Inchon (1981), Road House (1989), The Big Lebowski (1998), Buffalo '66 (1998), Happiness (1998), The Thomas Crown Affair (1999), Summer of Sam (1999), Dogville (2003) and Paris, je t'aime (2006). He was a recurring collaborator with John Cassavetes, working with him on Husbands (1970), The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976) and Opening Night (1977).
As the star of the television series Run for Your Life (1965–1968), Gazzarra was nominated for three Golden Globe Awards and two Emmy Awards. He won his first, and only, Emmy Award for his role in the television film Hysterical Blindness (2002).George C. Scott
George Campbell Scott (October 18, 1927 – September 22, 1999) was an American stage and film actor, director, and producer. He was best known for his stage work, as well as his portrayal of General George S. Patton in the film Patton, as General Buck Turgidson in Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, Ebenezer Scrooge in Clive Donner's 1984 film A Christmas Carol and Lieutenant Bill Kinderman in William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist III.
He was the first actor to refuse the Academy Award for Best Actor (for Patton in 1970), having warned the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences months in advance that he would do so on philosophical grounds if he won. Scott believed that every dramatic performance was unique and could not be compared to others.Hawkins (TV series)
Hawkins is a television series which aired for one season on CBS between 1973 and 1974. The mystery, created by Robert Hamner and David Karp, starred James Stewart as rural-bred lawyer Billy Jim Hawkins, who investigated the cases he was involved in, similarly to Stewart's earlier smash hit movie Anatomy of a Murder (1959). Despite being critically well received and winning a Golden Globe Award (Best Actor in Television Drama Series, Stewart), the series was cancelled after one season consisting of eight 90-minute episodes. Stewart requested the cancellation since he believed that the quality of scripts and directors in television could not continuously measure up to the level to which he was accustomed with theatrical films.
Seen as part of The New CBS Tuesday Night Movies, it alternated every third week with the TV movie adaptations of Shaft, along with other' single issue original broadcast TV movies. This was a popular programming strategy in television entertainment programming in the late 1960s and continuing into the 1970s. it was generally known as a wheel series. Two or more regular programs were rotated in the same time slot. Sometimes the wheel series itself was given its own umbrella title and was promoted as a single unit instead of promoting its separate components.
Arena Productions produced Hawkins in association with MGM Television.John D. Voelker
John D. Voelker (June 29, 1903 – March 18, 1991), also known by his pen name Robert Traver, was a noted lawyer, author and fly fisherman from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He grew up in his hometown of Ishpeming and later attended the University of Michigan Law School. His early professional career was as an attorney and county prosecutor in Marquette County. Voelker was also appointed to the Michigan Supreme Court by Governor G. Mennen Williams in 1957. He is best known as the author of the novel, Anatomy of a Murder, published in 1958. The best-selling novel was turned into an Academy Award-nominated film of the same name—directed by Otto Preminger and starring James Stewart—that was released July 1, 1959. Duke Ellington wrote the music for the movie. It is critically acclaimed as one of the best trial movies of all time.
Anatomy of a Murder is based on a real murder (and subsequent trial) that occurred in Big Bay in the early morning of July 31, 1952. Coleman A. Peterson, a lieutenant in the Army, was charged with murdering Maurice Chenoweth. The alleged motive was revenge for the rape of Peterson's wife by Chenoweth. Voelker successfully defended Peterson, who was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Other books by Voelker were based on other legal cases in the Upper Peninsula or his love of fly fishing for brook trout. He authored over 100 opinions during his short tenure on the Michigan Supreme Court, the most famous of which was in a case called People v. Hildabridle involving a nudist colony near Battle Creek.Joseph N. Welch
Joseph Nye Welch (October 22, 1890 – October 6, 1960) was an American lawyer who served as the chief counsel for the United States Army while it was under investigation for Communist activities by Senator Joseph McCarthy's Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, an investigation known as the Army–McCarthy hearings. His confrontation with McCarthy during the hearings, in which he famously asked McCarthy "At long last, have you left no sense of decency?" is seen as a turning point in the history of McCarthyism.Lee Remick
Lee Ann Remick (December 14, 1935 – July 2, 1991) was an American actress. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for the 1962 film Days of Wine and Roses, and for the 1966 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her Broadway theatre performance in Wait Until Dark.
Remick made her film debut in 1957 in A Face in the Crowd. Her other notable film roles include Anatomy of a Murder (1959), Wild River (1960), The Detective (1968), The Omen (1976), and The Europeans (1979). She won Golden Globe Awards for the 1973 TV film The Blue Knight, and for playing the title role in the 1974 miniseries Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill. For the latter role, she also won the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress. In April 1991, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.Louis R. Loeffler
Louis R. Loeffler (February 24, 1897 – April 22, 1972) was an American film editor. Through his five-decade career, he worked on over 100 films, including In Old Arizona (1928), Hotel for Women (1939), In the Meantime, Darling (1944), Laura (1944), The Iron Curtain (1948), How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), River of No Return (1954), and Anatomy of a Murder (1959). He was nominated for two Academy Awards for film editing in 1960 and 1963 for the films Anatomy of a Murder and The Cardinal, respectively.Mather Inn
The Mather Inn is a hotel in Ishpeming, Michigan. The inn served as housing for the cast of the classic 1959 movie Anatomy of a Murder, and was the place where Duke Ellington composed the movie's score. It was designated a Michigan State Historic Site in 1976 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.Murray Hamilton
Murray Hamilton (March 24, 1923 – September 1, 1986) was an American stage, screen, and television character actor who appeared in such films as Anatomy of a Murder, The Hustler, The Graduate, The Amityville Horror and Jaws.Otto Preminger
Otto Ludwig Preminger (, German pronunciation: [ˈpreːmiŋɐ]; 5 December 1905 – 23 April 1986) was an American theatre and film director, originally from Austria-Hungary.
He directed more than 35 feature films in a five-decade career after leaving the theatre. He first gained attention for film noir mysteries such as Laura (1944) and Fallen Angel (1945), while in the 1950s and 1960s, he directed a number of high-profile adaptations of popular novels and stage works. Several of these later films pushed the boundaries of censorship by dealing with topics which were then taboo in Hollywood, such as drug addiction (The Man with the Golden Arm, 1955), rape (Anatomy of a Murder, 1959) and homosexuality (Advise & Consent, 1962). He was twice nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director. He also had a few acting roles.Russ Brown (actor)
Russell Brown (May 30, 1892; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – October 19, 1964; Englewood, New Jersey) was an American Tony Award-winning actor of stage and film. Brown, a stage actor for decades, is best remembered by audiences as Captain Brackett in South Pacific (which he repeated in the movie version) and for his performances as 'Benny Van Buren' in the stage/film version of Damn Yankees in 1958, and the following year as park caretaker George Lemon in the classic courtroom drama, Anatomy of a Murder (1959). For his stage performance in "Damn Yankees!", he earned Broadway's Tony Award in 1956, as did actor Ray Walston, actress Gwen Verdon and her choreographer husband Bob Fosse, among others, all for the same Tony Award-winning musical.Sam Leavitt
Samuel "Sam" Leavitt, A.S.C (February 6, 1904–March 21, 1984), was an American cinematographer who was nominated for three Academy Awards, winning one for The Defiant Ones (1958).
Leavitt began his career as an assistant camera operator working on 1930s films. Leavitt was a camera operator on films including Rancho Notorious (1952) and on TV's I Love Lucy in the early 1950s before becoming a director of photography in films.
Leavitt was nominated for Academy Awards for Exodus (Best Cinematography Color) (1960)and Anatomy of a Murder (1959) (Best Cinematography Black and White) in the two years following his Oscar win for The Defiant Ones.Leavitt was born in New York City, New York and died in Woodland Hills, California.Saul Bass
Saul Bass (; May 8, 1920 – April 25, 1996) was an American graphic designer and Academy Award-winning filmmaker, best known for his design of motion-picture title sequences, film posters, and corporate logos.
During his 40-year career Bass worked for some of Hollywood's most prominent filmmakers, including Alfred Hitchcock, Otto Preminger, Billy Wilder, Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese. Among his most famous title sequences are the animated paper cut-out of a heroin addict's arm for Preminger's The Man with the Golden Arm, the credits racing up and down what eventually becomes a high-angle shot of a skyscraper in Hitchcock's North by Northwest, and the disjointed text that races together and apart in Psycho.
Bass designed some of the most iconic corporate logos in North America, including the Bell System logo in 1969, as well as AT&T's globe logo in 1983 after the breakup of the Bell System. He also designed Continental Airlines' 1968 jet stream logo and United Airlines' 1974 tulip logo, which became some of the most recognized airline industry logos of the era. He died from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in Los Angeles on April 25, 1996, at the age of 75.The Hardest Button to Button
"The Hardest Button to Button" is a 7" single by the American alternative rock band The White Stripes. It is the third single from their album Elephant. The cover of the single is an allusion to the graphics of Saul Bass, seen in the movie posters and title sequences of films such as Anatomy of a Murder and The Man with the Golden Arm. The cover also alludes to Jack White's then-broken index finger and his obsession with the number 3. When released as a single, the song reached number 23 on the UK Singles Chart and number eight on the US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.
Jack White says that the song is about a child trying to find his place in a dysfunctional family when a new baby comes.