Looking back at "Anatomy of a Murder"
The 1959 movie "Anatomy of a Murder" was based on a book written by John Voelker, under the pen name Robert Traver. The book was based on a real murder that happened in Big Bay in 1952.
In the '50s, the Upper Peninsula was isolated. The only way to get here was through Wisconsin. And that was how the stars arrived.
"The train station was crowded with people from the whole area who wanted to watch them get off the train," said Joan Hansen, a former hostess at the dining room at Mather Inn in Ishpeming, where many of the stars stayed. "Of course, we didn't have any flights then."
For two and a half months, Marquette's social life revolved around the star-studded cast and crew, which included then-sensations Jimmy Stewart and Lee Remick.
"So I got to know all the stars and everybody, and went to their parties," Hansen said. "I danced with Jimmy Stewart
. I have to tell everybody that."
Some of the film was famously shot in the Marquette County courthouse. Some, at the Thunder Bay Inn in Big Bay, just a block from where the actual murder happened. Many locals got to be extras in the film.
"It was a very big deal for Big Bay," Thunder Bay Inn co-owner Gretchen Peacock said. "People in Big Bay [as well as] Marquette came out to watch the filming. Some children were paid to be in the movie, I think $10 for the day."
The movie was a hit. It brought in $11 million at the box office, about $91 million in today's dollars. It also put national attention on Marquette County. But the limelight didn't change the U.P.'s unique culture.
"Well, we were kind of proud of it, of course. but I don't think it changed our ways," Hansen said. "We were still kind of stick-in-the-muds, and I liked it that way. We all did."
In case you haven't seen it, the story follows the trial of an army lieutenant who killed a bartender for allegedly raping his wife. But we won't give any spoilers. To find out what happens, you'll just have to watch the movie.