The Movie
The Incident is an outstanding, Emmy and Writers Guild of America Award winning movie.  
The movie opens with scenes of German POWs conducting a funeral for one of their own interspersed with scenes of Harmon Cobb (Walter Matthau) giving a patriotic Fourth of July speech.
The story takes place during 1944 in Breman, a fictional, small town in Colorado.  WWII is still raging when the town faces tragedy -- the town's only doctor, Doc  Hansen, has been murdered at a local POW camp. Harmon Cobb, a good friend of the Doc's, is a local country lawyer who is given the unfortunate task of defending Geiger, the Nazi prisoner of war who accused of killing the doctor.
The Cast Harmon Cobb Walter Matthau Judge Bell Harry Morgan Domsczek Robert Carradine Officer Wallace William Schallert Geiger Peter Firth Riefenstahl Norbert Weisser Doc Hansen Bernard Hughes Billie Susan Blakely
The case seems open and shut, and Cobb's basic role, as he is clearly told by presiding Judge Bell, isn't to mount a serious defense, it's merely to make the process look good. In fact, the judge makes it clear that he assigned Cobb because he believed him to be incompetent. He wants to use Geiger as bartering material to help free three American Airmen being held prisoner of war in Germany, and who are scheduled to be hung. Cobb has to deal with the antipathy of the townsfolk, and even some threats from those who are convinced of Geiger's guilt. He also has to deal with his own anti-German feelings left over from his service in WWI -- feelings that are intensified after he receives news that his son was killed in Europe fighting the Germans. He ultimately settles into the role he's been given, and begins to uncover an unsavory cover-up taking place at the POW camp -- with the full knowledge of its commander. The reality is that a POW by the name of Riefenstahl is the leader of a group of Nazis called the Lager Gestapo. They provide night security to the POWs after taps when the American Army MPs are no longer on duty inside the camp. Riefenstahl and his henchmen are free to patrol the camp at will and proceed to kill anyone that speaks ill of them or the Nazi party. It seems the doctor had been covering up eight murders by Riefenstahl and his men, and was about to confess. When his partial written confession was discovered by Riefenstahl, the Lager Gestapo murdered him. Riefenstahl and his men framed Geiger as he was the one POW at the camp not intimidated by them. They make it appear as if he had been in possession of the baseball bat that was used to murder the doctor, and plant his Iron Cross in the doctor's hand upon his death. They assumed they could get away with it as Geiger had been seen pushing the doctor to the floor earlier in the day, and was the obvious person to have murdered him.
Domsczek questions a lead MP about suspicious activities out at the camp, but he is reluctant to say too much and hedges a few of his answers. As the ranking NCO at the camp, and one who would be familiar with the other POWs, Riefenstahl is led into the courtroom to testify that Geiger is indeed a hard-core Nazi, and a dangerous man. He plays the likable innocent and claims no ties to the Nazi party. The reality is that Geiger knows that Riefenstahl and his men have murdered a new arrival, Private Schmidt, because he made a joke about Hermann Goring. They visited Schmidt's barracks after lights-out and beat him with a baseball bat. His murder was the final straw for Doc Hansen, who was filled with guilt over falsifying death certificates of the eight German soldiers who were murdered. Geiger’s visit to his office earlier in the day convinced him he needed to inform someone about the cover-up.
Cobb is a self-taught, simple country lawyer who wants to see the suspect hang. He is in for a shock when the Federal judge handling the case informs him he will be the defense attorney or face disbarment and jail time.
Doc Hansen comes to the cafe and is clearly upset over something. He leaves before his food arrives. Later that night, Cobb finds him staggering down the street mumbling about the "poor boys."
It isn't until Doc Hansen's fishing buddy finds a confession in his tackle box that the truth starts to emerge. Doc could no longer hold back the horrible secret that he had lied about eight murders at the camp, and that he had signed the death certificates stating that the men died from "natural causes."
Wallace convinces Cobb to go out to the POW camp with him so they can look into Doc's files. An MP reluctantly lets them in, afraid that the camp commander will find out and send him to the Brig. Cobb assures him that it's actually the camp commander they will be investigating because he has been involved in the cover-up of the deaths, and he will not be in a position to harm him by the time they are through with their investigation.
While Wallace and Cobb are in Doc's office, Riefenstahl and his men come in and threaten them with a baseball bat, the same type of weapon that they used to kill the Doc. Wallace scares them off with his gun and they retreat. Wallace and Cobb now have all the evidence they need to free Geiger and implicate the camp commander, along with Riefenstahl and his men, if they can bring together enough witnesses and testimony to prove it to Judge Bell.
Cobb finally convinces the MP to testify against the camp commander. With his testimony and also that of the coroner who helped falsify the death certificates, Cobb proves to Judge Bell that it was Riefenstahl and not Geiger that killed Doc Hansen.
The camp commander is arrested for perjury and further investigation. Cobb and Geiger come to an understanding after Riefenstahl and his men are arrested and sentenced to hang, and wish each other a better life after the war, since they have both lost so much because of it.
Billie reads a letter from her husband (Cobb’s son) who is in France fighting against the Germans. Arianna Richards plays her daughter, Nancy.
A friend of the family and local police officer Wallace, comes by to tell Cobb that Doc has been murdered out at the POW camp, and a suspect has been taken into custody.
The movie screencaps and captions continue here:
Incident, Page 2 Incident, Page 2
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A story of German POWs in America
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