When Sir Alfred Hitchcock delivered the completed movie to the studio, after a Hitchcock record of ninety-two days of filming, it ran almost three hours. This rough cut was initially trimmed to two hours and twelve minutes, which was the version screened for the Academy of Arts & Sciences. In this version, Ethel Barrymore can be seen as the half-crazed wife of Lord Horfield, which explains the Oscar nomination for her performance. (There was apparently a brilliant museum scene where Lady Horfield requests Anthony Keane to save Mrs. Paradine, and another scene where Lady Horfield tries to hide her coughing from her husband.) Producer David O. Selznick subsequently cut the film to two hours and five minutes, and then to its present length of one hour and fifty-four minutes, in which Barrymore's screentime totals about three minutes. In 1980, a flood reputedly destroyed the original, uncut version, making the restoration of the cut scenes unlikely, although it has been reported that some of these cut scenes reside at the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York.
This movie cost almost exactly the same to film as Gone with the Wind (1939), with most of the overruns due to Producer David O. Selznick's constant interference with Director Sir Alfred Hitchcock's carefully budgeted production, and his insistence that Hitchcock do extensive re-shoots. Since Hitchcock required that he receive his contractual one thousand dollars-per-day fee, Selznick took over, including supervising editing, and the musical score.
Greta Garbo turned down the role of Martha in I Remember Mama (1948) at around the same time that she also rejected the role of Mrs. Paradine in The Paradine Case. She is reputed to have commented, "No murderesses, no mamas."
Although this movie was a box-office failure, many critics praised the performances by Ann Todd and Joan Tetzel. Time Magazine (January 12, 1948 issue) said, "The only characters who come sharply to life are the barrister's wife (Ann Todd) and her confidante (Joan Tetzel)." Variety said, "Ann Todd delights as his wife, giving the assignment a grace and understanding that tug at the emotions."
Producer David O. Selznick originally wanted Bernard Herrmann to compose the score for this movie, but Herrmann wasn't available due to other commitments, so Selznick decided to go with Leith Stevens, borrowing him from Universal Pictures at the cost of ten thousand dollars for eight weeks. Stevens composed and recorded nine cues, but Selznick rejected them, returning half of Stevens' fee to Universal Pictures and returning the music and recordings to the composer. Eventually Franz Waxman was hired to do the score.
When Keane (Gregory Peck) goes to the Paradine house in Cumberland, he walks over to Mrs. Paradine's (Alida Valli's) piano. On the piano we see close-up of a page of music called Appassionata Op. 69 by Francesco Ceruomo. Francesco Ceruomo is an Italianized version of Franz Waxman, who wrote the background music for the movie. The music shown on the piano is the actual music that is playing on the soundtrack at that point.
A memorable image in this movie occurs when Mrs. Paradine is taken from her life of luxury and confined to a bare jail cell. The slamming of the iron door behind her as she enters the cell recalls one of Sir Alfred Hitchcock's own memories, that of being locked up in the Leytonstone jail when he was six-years-old.
In the original Sir Alfred Hitchcock adaptation by Alma Reville and James Bridie, there was a physical resemblance between Mrs. Paradine and Anthony Keane's wife Gay Keane. However, due to casting changes, this idea was dropped altogether.
The original script was written by James Bridie, and Ben Hecht contributed additional dialogue. However, this script wasn't used, because the characters were changed, for example William Marsh became André Latour. This script is available at IUCAT Library.
According to the book "Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light", Hitchcock's favorite effect, he told Charles Higham, had been planned since the inception of this movie. Keane and Sir Simon Flaquer walk toward the camera as they enter Lincoln's Inn, part of venerable fourteenth century London law complex. The two are seen entering the building, closing the door, walking up the stairs, turning the corner, heading along a landing into an office, and then continuing into the office, all without a single cut. It was one of Hitchcock's signature composites, using background projection and a treadmill, elaborately planned and prepared in advance by his second unit in London. Opposed to the long take, and oblivious of the significance of Lincoln's Inn, Producer David O. Selznick deleted the shot.
The two shots of Old Bailey courthouse in London show the front left wing gutted. Although many London landmarks were damaged by German bombing during the 1940-1941 Blitz, repair work was still underway in 1946 when the film story is set. The image of the partly-ruined courthouse symbolizes the contemporary British will to conduct business as normal, in this case a murder trial, despite the damage inflicted.