A French intelligence agent becomes embroiled in the Cold War politics first with uncovering the events leading up to the 1962 Cuban Missle Crisis, and then back to France to break up an international Russian spy ring.
The beautiful Mrs. Paradine is accused of poisoning her older, blind husband. She hires married Anthony Keane as her lawyer and when he begins to fall in love with her, she encourages him. Written by
Col Needham <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In opening credits scroll below Ethel Barrymore: "and two new / Selznick Stars / Louis Jourdan / and / Valli". Alida Valli's name is in script form, and Jourdan had been playing leading roles in French films for several years before making "The Paradine Case". See more »
This was Gregory Peck's second and last film with Alfred Hitchcock. He plays an English barrister who starts crushing out on his beautiful client who in this case is Alida Valli. Kind of hard to understand because at home he's got a porcelain goddess in the person of Ann Todd who definitely rates as one of Hitchcock's cool blonds. I guess Valli had a touch of the exotic for him as she did for Joseph Cotten in The Third Man.
For an English based film most of the cast is American. The English in this film are Charles Laughton, Ann Todd, Leo G. Carroll, and Joan Tetzel. Had Hitchcock had his way he would have gotten Sir Laurence Olivier over here to play Peck's part. Peck does his best, but I think Olivier would have been really something in the part. His performance as George Hurstwood in Carrie which is a similar role proves that.
Peck is suggested as counsel by Charles Coburn, solicitor for Alida Valli. She's been arrested for allegedly poisoning her rich and blind husband who was a war hero. The only other one around when the crime occurred was valet Louis Jourdan.
The thing I've always found curious about The Paradine Case is that while Peck's courtroom skills are brilliant as he tries alternative theories of the crime, he still allows himself to be ruled by the client because of his male member. A lawyer not so emotionally involved would have just sat Valli down and told her the legal facts of life. Valli refuses to let that happen.
Among the supporting cast look for a deliciously malevolent performance as Judge Horfield by Charles Laughton. Both at home where during a dinner party he makes a clumsy attempt to seduce Ann Todd and later on in court where during the trial he slams Peck at every opportunity. Laughton is a picture of corpulent corruption.
In the films of Alfred Hitchcock, the most expensive part of the film is the set of Old Bailey courtroom which is completely rebuilt to scale. The set is quite impressive. Although Hitchcock had experimented with a one set film with Rope and later on Dial M for Murder was done almost entirely in a small apartment, the set really is most like the set in Rear Window. Nearly the entire cast is present in Old Bailey, each in his assigned location like the people in the courtyard apartments in Rear Window. Visually I find it quite impressive.
Although Peck is not well cast, he's a good enough player to overcome the obstacles. The Paradine Case did not do as much for him as his earlier film for Hitchcock, Spellbound. Still it hurt no one's careers by association with it.
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