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The Paradine Case (1947)

Cast: Gregory Peck, Ann Todd, Charles Laughton, more...
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Anchor Bay
Genre: Drama, Courtroom, Courtroom, Courtroom
Running Time: 114 min.
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This title is currently out of print.

Based on a novel by Robert Hichens, The Paradine Case concerns Anna Paradine (Alida Valli), on trial for the murder of her wealthy husband. British barrister Anthony Keane (played by the aggressively American Gregory Peck) takes on the case-and in the process, falls in love with Anna, despite being married himself. Despite his client's protests, Keane summons Anna's lover, unkempt stableman Andre Latour (Louis Jourdan), hoping to prove in court that Latour was the killer. Only after a series of stunning upsets does Keane realize that, for the first time in his career, he has allowed his heart to rule his head. In a typically perverse Hitchcockian development, the film's most unpleasant character, an autocratic, vindictive judge played by Charles Laughton, is one of the few who can see through Anna's facade. Hitchcock had wanted Greta Garbo to play Anna Paradine, and indeed a screen test was filmed, but Garbo ultimately declined. At the time of filming, Hitchcock was enamored with uninterrupted, 10-minute takes (later used to the extreme in Rope); thus, the Old Bailey courtroom set where much of the action takes place was designed to accommodate multiple cameras and elaborately conceived crane movements. Such techniques were cumbersome in 1947, and as a result the over-illuminated set ended up costing $70,000, jacking up the film's overall budget to a whopping $3 million (quite a pretty penny in those days). The film was a box-office disappointment, spelling the end of the always-rocky association between Alfred Hitchcock and producer David O. Selznick. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Plodding But Not Uninteresting by randomcha May 12, 2006 - 11:17 AM PDT
As a Hitchcock film it can only count as a disappointment: very talky and sluggish, even predictable. Some have said it was Selznick who torpedoed this one with his endless fussing and revision (it was the last time the two worked together). The story doesn't really develop into anything interesting. And yet ... there are some classic Hitchcockian themes (the icy, unattainable woman; transferrence of guilt and implication) as well as a marvelous (if too-small) turn by Charles Laughton as a slimy judge. The cinematogrpahy, by Marlene Dietrich's fave cameraman Lee Garmes, is luscious. Oh--Hitch's cameo, as a dandyish fellow smoking a cigar and carrying an instrument case in a train station, is pretty damn hilarious too.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.68)
34 Votes
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