The Paradine Case

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Doesn’t life punish us enough…?

Trying to get through three or four of these reviews back to back is putting me in a position where I am worried I may run out of anything interesting to say, so lets roll of some more Hitch-facts if I can think of them… ummm… come on… think…

They say you should never meet your heroes, but in Steven Spielberg's case, Hitchcock wouldn't let him! He referred to Spielberg as 'the man who made the fish movie'. However, it wasn't so much that he didn't like Spielberg or his movies (as far as I know, don't take that as gospel) but that he felt ashamed for taking a fee of $1,000,000 to be the original voice that introduced the Jaws ride at Universal Studios… something he later regretted taking such a fee for…

That's a lot of dollar for one short voice intro considering up until Psycho, his average salary for directing a movie was a quarter of that!

Review

The Paradine Case makes for both an interesting film in terms of the specifics of the murder and the details of the trial. In much the as The Wrong Man I was a little worried this movie would be a bit of a tame outing as it takes a closer look at the events that take place after somebody is caught as apposed to the more common process of catching them. But again, it wasn't. Hitchcock always manages to find a way to tease the tension out of any plot he's faced with.

The only thing in this film I really have to take issue with, unfortunately, is the leading man, Anthony Keane (Gregory Pack), who just seems far too clean and proper and manly. He's like an old Disney prince (not Aladdin though; one of the 'storyless' ones that only appears for 5 minutes) given human form; just very hard to believe that such a person could exist. He's sexy and smart and wealthy and successful and he knows it, his wife knows it and says it and his father-in-law knows it and doesn't say it but is definately thinking it, and although the attitude seems of it's time, it still feels too much.

I found his wife, Gay (Hitchcockian blonde, Ann Todd), considerably more believable and easier to relate to and I think that is probably because the women in Hitchcock films (as in Disney films) always seem to have a lot more depth to them then the men (something worth exploring further at some point, in both cases, I'm sure). The femme fatale in question,Mrs. Maddalena Anna Paradine (not a blonde so probably guilty… Alida Valli!) also had a lot of depth to her character and it was genuinely hard as a viewer to really establish if she was guilty or not for much of the film. Clearly something was being hidden, but it wasn't necessarily guilt…

The real triumph of this film is the love triangle that's never really ever completed. These two women never actually meet face to face and yet you very much get a sense that there is a battle going on between them for Anthony. This again is what makes Gay the best character in the film, in my opinion. The discussions she instigates with her husband are honest and frank and at times painful, but it's how she fights for him and she does it so well, as a character and and an actress. 

It surprising to learn that Ethel Barrymore was nominated then for the best supporting actress (although she didn't win) considering her role was so minor in comparison!

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