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The Paradine Case (1947)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 26 August 1949 (Sweden)
A happily married London barrister falls in love with the accused poisoner he is defending.



(from the novel by), (adaptation) | 2 more credits »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Joan Tetzel ...
Isobel Elsom ...


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


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

26 August 1949 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Alfred Hitchcock's The Paradine Case  »

Box Office


$4,258,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


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

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Alfred Hitchcock wanted to direct Ingrid Bergman in the role of a woman on trial for killing her husband - the part that eventually went to Alida Valli. Bergman wanted to avoid doing another movie for producer David O. Selznick. See more »


When Latour appears outside Keane's inn room, the wind is blowing wildly, whipping Latour's hair across his forehead; yet just a split-second later, after Latour has entered the room, his hair is perfectly combed without a hair out of place. See more »


[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 »


Referenced in El crimen del cine Oriente (1997) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

worth a second look...
29 May 2003 | by See all my reviews

Often unjustly dismissed as one of director Alfred Hitchcock's `lesser works,' THE PARADINE CASE stands up as well as any 1940's courtroom drama when taken on its own terms. And the central theme: that of a lawyer passionately (and wrongly) convinced of a beautiful and intelligent client's innocence because he wants to trust his emotions and not the evidence, certainly seems to strike a chord with audiences. It has been used countless times from the silent era to the present day (e.g., MADAME X, GUILTY AS SIN, BODY OF EVIDENCE, etc..). Unlike reviewer stills-6, I found the central triangle-between lawyer Peck, his wife Ann Todd, and lovely client Alida Valli (whose motives are always kept nebulous until the end) believable and surprisingly complex. Each has his/her own agenda; with Peck wavering between the lovely, warm Todd and the beautiful, coldly mysterious and sensual Valli, who seemingly represents an attitude toward love and life he has presumably never known but finds appealing nevertheless. Valli has the most difficult role here, having to both woo Peck to her cause while keeping him emotionally at a distance, but Todd also acquits herself admirably by bringing depth and sensitivity to what could have been just a run-of-the-mill suffering wife role. She refuses to suffer in silence, and uses words to argue her cause passionately, saying wryly at the end: `That's what comes from being married to a lawyer.' Of course, a cynic could point out that when Todd insists Peck defend and acquit Valli she is being unjustly noble-but I think Todd's stoic suffering and her explanations to Peck quickly undercut this idea. (And in fact, if Peck did follow up on his offer to Todd to quit the case halfway through, this wouldn't be much of a movie!)

Indeed, the wordiness of this film seems to be one of its detractors' biggest complaints. But in this I think Hitchcock has (perhaps unintentionally) made a sly point: the characters talk circles around each other (particularly Peck and the always deliciously malevolent Laughton), but manage most of the time to completely miss the realities of the situation. Only the women--the silent Valli, the barely repressed Todd, and the caustic Joan Tetzel--recognize the truth. The men, doomed to arguing and finagling, miss the point-and the truth-completely, in their attempts to sacrifice each other to their own individual causes.

Even considered strictly within the Hitchcock pantheon, it's clear THE PARADINE CASE has many Hitchcockian trademarks: dazzling cameras moves, wonderful imagery, sweeping romantic themes, blurred triangles of love, desire and hate between all the principle characters, brutal men, devious women, an impending sense of doom, and even a character noted for her `masculine' interest in the legal technicalities of the case. (Clearly, Hitchcock found these women pursuing `masculine' interests fascinating, as they seem to pop up in many of his films (e.g., Patricia Hitchcock in STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, Barbara Bel Geddes in VERTIGO). But I also find in the women here a darker prelude of Hitchcockian things to come. No one in THE PARADINE CASE is entirely happy (or even, one might argue, happy at all), but each sticks firmly to her own emotional path, able to see the potential tragic outcome but unwilling to waver enough to change it. (Kim Novak's character follows a similarly torturous internal journey in VERTIGO, as does Tippi Hedren in MARNIE).

So if you have the time to be absorbed by this imperfect but still compelling drama, take another look at THE PARADINE CASE. You might be surprised.

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