A Jury of Her Peers
30 minutes, 16mm color, 1980
Produced, Adapted, Directed, Edited by Sally Heckel
"Simple, powerful, jolting"- The New York Times
A farm woman is accused of murdering her husband on a desolate farm in early 1900s Midwest America. Two women, a neighboring farmer's wife and the sheriff's wife, find themselves alone in the jailed woman's kitchen while the prosecuting attorney and their husbands search the farm for evidence that would prove a motive for murder. As the women gather some things together for the accused, they uncover details of her life and discover what may be just what the men are looking for. Adapted from Susan Glaspell's 1917 short story of the same name, the film illuminates a women's world largely unnoticed by the men.
As a young reporter in Iowa, Susan Glaspell covered the sensational trial of a farmer's wife accused of murdering her husband in his sleep (book about trial). Years later, she summoned her memories of visiting the accused woman's home and wrote her 1916 classic one-act play, Trifles, which she rewrote in 1917 as a story for magazine publication, re-titling it A Jury of Her Peers.