Leonard Vole is a character from The Witness for the Prosecution, he is charged with the murder of Emily French and faces a hanging if found guilty. Depending on the adaptation he is given changes to fit the character or the notion that he is innocent.
WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD
1923 Short Story
Vole is charged for the murder of Miss Emily French whom he had developed a friendship when he saved her after she fell in front at a bus. He describes her house and Janet McKenize hated him, he claimed that she wanted him to look at her business affairs but Janet’s statement said she was confident with it. Then when John Mayherne said that Janet also said that French told her that Vole was to marry her which he denied as she knew about Romaine his German “Wife”, so he hopes that Janet’s time of coming home is enough to prove his innocence. However at the trial Romaine claims that Vole wasn't home at the time he said, as the trial goes on it’s clear that Vole will be hanged but after Romaine’s letters are exposed the prosecution case fell apart. However Vole was the killer along when John speaks to Romaine and she confessed.
In the play Vole is pretending to be innocent when Sir Wilfred Robarts questions him, he is very naive, saying that Emily was old when she was in her 50’s, he only hoped for something to help his inventions, which included things for cars and an egg beater/separator. He had seen Miss French as like his aunts that raised him, however after the papers say about the will change which results in his arrest at the office.
At the trial he claims the blood on his shirt was his own not French, as he cut his arm the same night while slicing ham, as seen with the knife and scar, but the prosecuting lawyers suggest that it could have been done on purpose, when Romaine testify that he was guilty, Vole yells questioning why she lies, however when Romaine’s letters appears he questions who this Max is. However he is present when Romaine reveals the truth to Mayhew and Robards, he reminds the shocked men that he is now protected by double jeopardy and that he will help Romaine’s release, but as she professes her love, his girlfriend The Other Woman appears, Romaine in betrayal stabs him with the knife killing him.
While being faithful to the Stage Play there are addition scenes:
Robards tested Vole’s honestly by shining his monocle at his face and he passes.
There are Flashbacks scenes of Vole and French out on the town and them at French’s home.
A scene of Vole and Christine meeting in World War 2 in a beer hall.
When he is freed and Christine tells Robards the truth he offers to pay everyone off now he can afford him.
When Christine discovers Diana (The Other Woman) his attitude is that he never said he loved her and that it was all false and she did her part of the deal, so his dead was well deserved.
He was played by Tyrone Powers
While based on the 1957 film there are no flashbacks and Vole is shown as an innocent but when he is acquitted his true nature as a cruel person is revealed.
He was played by Beau Bridges
2016 TV Series
Using the story’s original period, Vole is seen as a soldier in The Great War trying fight in the hell-zone of the battlefield. After the War, he works as a Waiter at Cocktail Bar with other handsome ex soldiers, but after tripping and spilling drinks, he is fired and Mrs French takes him home. Vole begins a physical relationship with Emily, Janet doesn't hide her distaste of him, telling him that Emily would get tired of him, he tells her if she thinks that she doesn't know her mistress. After she is found dead Vole was arrested in from his bed. When he speaks to John Mayhew about his “wife” as the only person to help him it’s clear that Mayhew wants to help him due to his youth. At the Trial Romaine leads the Prosecution with her claim that Vole was not at the time he claims and so he shouted, as the Executor and Janet give their testimony things are looking bleak, but the next day Sir Charles exposes the letters Romaine wrote to her secret lover and that she lied to him about being single. After this Sir Charles goes through the others untying their statements leaving Vole acquitted at the end.
After John collapsed just as Vole was to congladtants him, Vole pays for his time at the hospital, they met again when John is on holiday in France Vole is staying at the same hotel with his bride who turned out to be Romaine with Red Hair, forcing Mayhew in they reveal that they conspired to kill French and give Leonard an alibi by presenting Romaine as a cold woman, as Mayhew leaves calling Leonard a monster the couple remark that he is the greater monster for sending the younger generation off to die, or be damaged, also he convinced everyone that Janet did it and now she’s dead to make matters worst Vole was going to give her money. When they go out later on Vole jokes to Romaine about her getting tired of him and she replied don’t be tiresome which leaves him bemused.
He was played by Billy Howle.
- Christie rewrote the ending because she hated getting Vole off the hook.
- In the flashback Vole describes seeing a movie of Jesse James, Tyrone Powers played the role in a movie.
- Tyrone Powers was the object of attraction of Marlene Diretch and Charles Laugton also had a crush on him as well.
- Witness was Powers last compete movie he died during the making of Solomon and Sheba.
- All the actors that played Vole were younger than the actors playing Romaine/Christine.