Arthur Kennedy received his third Oscar nomination for portraying Barney Castle in Trial.
The more I see of Arthur Kennedy the more I must say I do not find him to be one of the best character actors, not a bad one, but not one who makes a film better by simply being in it. In fact I still feel the strongest performance of his was his leading turn in Bright Victory, and really I think he would have probably been better as a leading man on a whole. Here Arthur Kennedy plays a lawyer who takes the case of the young boy, but he may have other reasons for taking the case than just to help the kid.
Arthur Kennedy here shows his shortcomings in this performance as well as his strengths. In his scenes he tends to try a little hard to be noticed in his scenes. He always attempts to dominate his scenes, and be noticed even though he is not the star. Kennedy does not go over the top really, but there is more of a visible effort shown that really should be. That being said Kennedy does not fail or fall on his face either though.
Kennedy as Barney still has a strength and certain command that makes for Barney who does want to make a splash, and make the case be noticed. Kennedy does show there is most certainly an intelligence to Barney in the way he handles the case, there quickness in Kennedy's performance that perfectly expresses the knowledge Barney has of the case, and exactly how he can use it for its own cause.
Barney is not at all the noble crusading lawyer he pretends to be and only wishes to use the case of the young boy for his hidden agenda. Here Kennedy shows that Barney does always seem to have more than one thing on his mind at a time, suggesting his hidden motives, although I think Kennedy could have handled it better still since he goes just a little far with Barney's almost brutal way of handling his client that when it is revealed he has been hiding something all along you see it coming more than you should. Kennedy though on a whole does give a good performance, I only wish it had been just a little more refined than it may have been a great performance.