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>
The original Hitchcock script for the film was written by James Bridie, and 'Ben Hecht 'contributed additional dialogue. But this script wasn't used, because the characters were changed, for example William Marsh became Andre Latour. This Hitchcock script is available at IUCAT Library. See more »
When Gay gives Mr. Keane a drink, she completely empties the cocktail shaker. However, after she gives him the drink, she takes the same cocktail shaker and supplies a drink for herself. See more »
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 »
A master chef, lavish preparation, fine ingredients in the choice of actors, great sets, costumes - but no imagination in the story. It's still enjoyable because upper middle class London in the 1950s, the relationships among the people, their entertainments, the beauty of the homes, the clothes, the accents, is a pretty enjoyable place to be for this movie's duration.
However, the story - an uneasy mix of an uninvolving outdated sappy soap opera story of the torn man and his nobly suffering wife, with a murder trial that has drama but no surprises at all - is pretty bad.
We're in the world of The Reluctant Debutante, Witness for the Prosecution, Dial M for Murder, Midnight Lace - upper middle class 1950s London (it's the sort of movie where, as they change from black tie and gown, they might say: "Did you enjoy the Philharmonic tonight, darling?" "Well, the oboes were a trifle off". "Don't forget we have Lord and Lady X coming for dinner tomorrow". He pulls a face; she smiles, embraces him and praises him.). You both love this atmosphere - it doesn't seem stifling at all - yet understand how the "Angry Young Men" and then the Beatles could have wanted to blow it up.
A major criticism: this movie has the kind of mindset that launched feminism. Women exist either to ensnare men to their doom with their beauty or to nobly suffer, praise and forgive their heroic, if unfaithful-in-the-heart, men. Time and again, we hear of the "unfeminine" curiosity of one woman (whose interest is entirely prurient), and we see the absolute SHOCK on Peck's face when his client says that an adulterous affair in her past was at her initiation.
A minor criticism: there is no explanation why an American (Peck) is a barrister. Rex Harrison would have been a better choice.
Another minor criticism: the dialogue is so repetitive. E.g., how often is Peck told he's tired? Sometimes four times in a single
Another minor criticism: the music is too heavy, the story just isn't enough to really grab us - so the music must tell us what we are supposed to feel.
Yet the movie is still enjoyable - the characters of Gregory Peck, Charles Laughton, Charles Coburn and Louis Jourdan are well-drawn and enjoyably relate to each other. Laughton is particularly good - loathsome yet real-seeming. Alida Valli IS beautiful and exotic. Ethel Barrymore has obviously had FAR far better roles - Ann Todd is actually quite a good actress in other things, but has absolutely nothing to work with here, so the viewer will find her tiresome (not the movie's intention).
If Hitchcock and these stars were not involved in this movie, no one would ever watch it, and it would probably still sit gathering dust somewhere, unreleased for home viewing.
So, see it - it IS enjoyable to see these stars in this atmosphere, but expect some irritation and don't expect to remember it in a year.
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