American Rhetoric: Movie Speech

"The Rack" (1956)

 

Captain Edward Hall Delivers Closing Remarks to the Court

 

Court President: Court will come to order. Quiet, please. Court is now in session.

Court Officer: All parties of the trial who were present when Court closed are present again.

Law Officer: The accused will rise and face the Court.

Court President: Captain Edward Worthington Hall, Jr., it is my duty as president of this Court to inform you that the Court, in closed session, and upon secret written ballot, two-thirds of the Members present at the time the vote was taken concurring in each finding, finds you, of all charges and specifications, guilty -- with the exception of the charge having to do with striking a sick, enlisted man. Of that charge, the Court finds you not guilty.

Law Officer: Before the Court determines the sentence in your case, Captain Hall, you are advised that at this time you may submit evidence in extenuation of the offenses of which you stand convicted.

Captain Hall: I'll speak under oath.

Law Officer: Very well. You're still under oath.

Captain Hall: This isn't going to be an extenuation but I want to say it anyway. Captain Miller came to my hotel this morning, just about dawn. He's the witness who was tortured.

He said he'd read the papers and he'd seen my testimony there and he wanted to talk. So we sat down and we started talking about the men we knew who were prisoners over there.

He said he thought that every man has a moment in his life when he has to choose. If he chooses right, then it's a moment of magnificence. If he chooses wrong, then it's a moment of regret that will stay with him for the rest of his life.

I wish that every soldier -- I wish that everybody could feel the way I feel now. Because if they did, they'd know what it's like to be a man who sold himself short -- and who lost his moment of magnificence.

I pray to God that they find theirs.

Law Officer: Amen.

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American Rhetoric.
HTML transcription by Michael E. Eidenmuller.