Considering Alfred Hitchcock’s lifelong fascination with murder and suspense, it is remarkable that The Paradine Case stands as a rare Hitchcock courtroom drama. A beautiful woman (Maddalena Anna Paradine, played by the enchanting Alida Valli) stands accused of murdering her wealthy, blind husband. She enlists the aid of renowned lawyer Anthony Keane (Gregory Peck). As they prepare her defense, the chemistry between the two begins to heat up. And as his emotions for Mrs. Paradine grow stronger, Keane grows more convinced of her innocence. The case will be a difficult one, however, as the judge (Charles Laughton) is no friend of Keane’s; the queen’s prosecutor, played by the excellent Leo G. Carroll, is a serious foe; and only an inspired defense will have any chance of clearing Mrs. Paradine.
Alfred Hitchcock has been the most well-known director to the general public since the 1940s – and he remains so in the 21st century, more than 25 years after his death. His name evokes instant expectations on the part of audiences around the world: of a memorable night of movie-watching highlighted by at least two or three great chills (and a few more good ones), some striking black comedy, and an eccentric characterization or two in virtually every one of the director’s movies across a half-century – and usually laced with a comical cameo appearance by the director himself.
Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was born into a devoutly Catholic family in London, and his religious upbringing – with its attendant issues of guilt – would have a powerful influence on the psychological underpinnings of his later work. He was trained at a technical school, and initially gravitated to movies through art courses and advertising. He studied the work of other filmmakers, most notably the German expressionists… read more
Hitchcock's weakest effort, no doubt about it. I blame Selznick's script, his hollow and inconsistent characters, void of any sort of emotion, the bridge that connects them to the spectator. Like 'just another movie', an attempt done in a hurry. Trying madly and too hard, ends up being some sort of a fad. If not for Hitchcock's name being attached to this film, I doubt it would get the same attention and viewership.
Would have loved to have seen this with Hitchcock's choices for the leads: Garbo as Anna; Olivier as Anthony Keane and Ingrid Bergman as Gay Keane. Gregory Peck is disappointing as Anthony Keane because he is obviously American and he shows no restraint in his portrayal. Charles Laughton steals the show as Judge Horfield and his character provides an interesting morality twist to the straightforward storyline.