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The Paradine Case (1947)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 24 June 1948 (Mexico)
A happily married London barrister falls in love with the accused poisoner he is defending.

Director:

Alfred Hitchcock

Writers:

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

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Gregory Peck ... Anthony Keane
Ann Todd ... Gay Keane
Charles Laughton ... Judge Lord Thomas Horfield
Charles Coburn ... Sir Simon Flaquer
Ethel Barrymore ... Lady Sophie Horfield
Louis Jourdan ... Andre Latour
Alida Valli ... Maddalena Anna Paradine (as Valli)
Leo G. Carroll ... Sir Joseph
Joan Tetzel ... Judy Flaquer
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 »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 June 1948 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

Alfred Hitchcock's The Paradine Case See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,258,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

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

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Louis Jourdan appears more than forty minutes in. See more »

Goofs

When Keane travels to the Paradine country home, his train is seen entering the village from the left, framed by an overhanging tree branch. When Keane departs the village, a train is shown beneath the same branch departing from the right. It's the same shot, flipped for reuse. 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 »

Alternate Versions

Originally released at 132 minutes. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Great Drama Glossed Over
30 November 2010 | by jzappaSee all my reviews

With all the proficiency in production for which both Hollywood veterans were recognized, David O. Selznick and Alfred Hitchcock seemed to go halves in creative effort on a polished piece of stagnant entertainment in their ceremonial Paradine Case. Dub it a mystery melodrama, even if that doesn't completely sum it up any more than it did Rebecca, a preceding, much superior production by the two. Classify it as a romantic courtroom would-be tragedy alongside a marriage soap opera. It's all of these things rolled together in one intermittently interesting movie, effortlessly told via Hitchcock's sophisticated camera.

If you recall the lingering distress which Rebecca, the apparition femme fatale of that film, set off all the other characters, albeit she herself was dead, that's the kind of shadowy trouble that the poised Mrs. Paradine affects all the characters in this narrative, except she's quite alive. Nevertheless, her husband, a blind man, is dead and she's on trial for his murder. The story itself has much prospective tension, especially putting Mrs. Paradine at the hub of the drama. It's never cut and dried what she's up to and though the seductive effect of a woman under suspicion on a man with influence is and was nothing new, the plot progresses on its own distinctive path, as she is a distinctive character. The issue is that, unlike Hitchcock's British films, this American Hitchcock film set in Britain dulls the blade of the dramatic elements and turns. Hitchcock's camera has a way of acting like an adept trial lawyer, whirring calmly along with customary material and swiftly punctuating with fluent theatrics, and also unsurprisingly, the movie's furnishings have a lush David O. Selznick guise. However, despite Hitchcock's simplistic mastery of when and how to move the camera, each scene is a dialogue piece that I, to my own surprise, found would be much more impactful in other, perhaps grittier and more contemporary hands.

Slowly, overemotionally, but gracefully enough, this picture files the potentially much more intriguing story of the eponymous widow's swaying lure over many who are impinged on by her trial, in addition to a predetermined eye-opener to the nature of the character herself. It makes a pale wink at the covetousness she provokes in the officiating judge, a typically sharp-tongued Charles Laughton whose urbane hostility has altogether sent his wife over the edge, another powerful narrative element that seems to have been glossed over. There's also disquieting suggestion of Mrs. Paradine's clutch on her husband's valet, a man upon whom keen suspicion is aimed before and during the trial, though mainly it follows the zeal she rouses in the stiff-postured man appointed as her defending counsel and of the torment this causes his wife.

Gregory Peck is fervent as the prominent young London barrister who lets his heart, callously ensnared by his client, control his head, while Ann Todd would be much more persuasively grief-stricken as his wife were it not for Franz Waxman's gushy score being poured on her every word like syrup. Italian import Alida Valli makes the confined Mrs. Paradine a composite of inscrutability, ambiguity and sensuality, and Louis Jourdan is pretty intense as the harassed valet.

It isn't a momentous Hitchcock effort by a long shot, save to the degree that it infers the cave dweller beneath everyone's practiced etiquette and concrete integrity and barristers' wigs. And it isn't a momentous script either, for the intent of cinema that is, developed by Selznick himself from Robert Hichens' novel. After a hazy buildup of evidence and of passion in the lawyer's heart, the story finally goes into a static but enthralling courtroom and thankfully remains there for most of the second hour.


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