The Paradine Case (1947)

DVD Cover (Anchor Bay)
Genres: Courtroom Drama, Drama
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Alfred Hitchcock Alfred Hitchcock
Gregory Peck Gregory Peck
Ann Todd Ann Todd
Charles Laughton Charles Laughton
Charles Coburn Charles Coburn
Ethel Barrymore Ethel Barrymore

6.5 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by bluemeanie
Added: May 26, 2007
Alfred Hitchcock really only dabbled in three different genres:

01. Horror
02. Espionage
03. Romance

Those were his bread and butter. He tackles each one in his own way and he never stuck with one for too long without having to dabble in one of the others. That is what makes Hitchcock such a phenomenal director, his propensity for branching out and tackling various genres, some within the confines of a single film.

After the back to back successes of "Notorious" and "Spellbound", Hitchcock filmed a quick little romantic thriller before he went on to film "Rope". This film is what became "The Paradine Case". With little preparation and even less studio support, "The Paradine Case" was Hitchcock's pet project between projects. And you can tell. It lacks his full attention and his full imagination. The end result is a boring, rather mundane picture that doesn't do much for any genre that had not been done before, and that wasn't replicated again and again and again.

Basically, the plot is this: Maddalena Paradine (Alida Valli) is accused of poisoning her husband, a military hero and celebrated human being, and Anthony Keane (Gregory Peck) is appointed to represent her. However, Keane falls under her hypnotic spell, which threatens his career and his marriage to his wife (Ann Todd). Charles Laughton and Leo G. Caroll has supporting roles also, so the film definitely has star power working for it, but there was just something missing from "The Paradine Case" that I can't help but feel wouldn't have been missing it Hitchcock were devoting more time to singular films, instead of spreading his ideas out so wide.

There are people who love "The Paradine Case" and consider it to be one of Hitchcock's forgotten classics, but I do not agree. Look at the caliber of some of his other romantic thrillers, like "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" and "Vertigo" and then compare them to "The Paradine Case" and you will come to the same conclusion I came to. On the whole, even Hitchcock's worst is better than most people's best, but I guess I was expecting something more from the man who had just knocked us out of the park with two astonishing films and would go on to direct a string of very successful and very remarkable films after this one. Every director has his blemishes and this one is certainly one of Mr. Hitchcock's most notable. "The Paradine Case" is easily forgettable, B-list Hitchcock. 5/10.
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