A happily married London barrister falls in love with the accused poisoner he is defending.

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(from the novel by), (adaptation) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Ann Todd ...
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Joan Tetzel ...
Isobel Elsom ...
Innkeeper
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Storyline

Highly successful London barrister Anthony Keane takes on the case of Italian Maddalena Paradine who is accused of poisoning her blind military hero husband. Keane comes increasingly under her spell, threatening both his marriage and his career. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 August 1949 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Alfred Hitchcock's The Paradine Case  »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,258,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (re-release) | (original release) | (edited television) | (re-release)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

An exact replica of the Old Bailey courtroom was constructed for the court scenes for $400,000. See more »

Goofs

When Keane goes to the Paradine house in Cumberland, he walks over to Mrs. Paradine's piano. On the piano we see close-up of a page of music called Appassionata Op. 69 by Francesco Ceruomo. But in the next scene, when we see Keane passing by the piano, none of the three pages on it have any title at the top, only music, showing they are subsequent pages of that piece, and not the first one, as shown in the close-up. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Lakin: Dinner will be ready in fifteen minutes, mum.
Mrs. Maddalena Anna Paradine: Thank you, Lakin.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »

Connections

Referenced in The Dick Cavett Show: Alfred Hitchcock (1972) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
More than a courtroom soap opera--a major Hitchcock work
17 February 2006 | by (Trivandrum, Kerala, India) – See all my reviews

I loved the film not because it of its courtroom drama but because of Hitchcock's ability to deal with the drama outside the courtroom.

First, take in the shots that lead up to Alida Valli's character being arrested and locked up in the cell. Hitchcock is at his best building up the positive and elegant side of the character by enhancing the details--the expensive jewelry, the lady ensuring her hair is in place before receiving visitors, the humanist care taken to inform the valet that she would not be having her dinner, etc., etc. The build-up of the character within a few minutes of reel time for the viewer is considerably intelligent right up to the loud slamming of the cell door and the effect it has on the inmate (Hitchcock's own phobia?).

The second sequence that is unforgettable for me is the camera zooming in on Ann Todd's naked shoulder followed by the lecherous Charles Laughton caressing Todd's hand hidden away from her husband's vision, leading up ultimately to Todd's rejection of Laughton's advances. What is of consequence is not the performance of Todd or Laughton, but Hitchcock's sequence of visuals deftly edited to enhance the effect.

A third unusual image of the film is the introductory shot of Louis Jordan. This is the only film in my memory where a character is introduced without the least shred of light falling upon his/her face--his legs and hands are quite visible, but not his face.

Finally, the meetings in the jail between Valli and Peck smolders without a kiss or a physical touch. In my view, the performance of Valli is outstanding. Her remarkable turns in films by Visconti ("Senso") and Bertolucci ("1900") proved her capability.

The film belongs to Hitchcock, Valli and the camera-work of Lee Garmes (shots within the courtroom--probably the angles were suggested by the director). It is an unusual Hitchcock film with an elegant turn by Alida Valli. It is a film that cries out loud for a reassessment among Hitch's body of work. It is a major film of the director--though it is not an obvious one. Hitchcock seems to ask the viewer at the end of the film a difficult question--who is the true heroine of the film? And he has a macguffin...


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