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The Paradine Case (1947) Poster

Trivia

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.
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While Sir Alfred Hitchcock liked the actors and actresses, he felt that Gregory Peck, Alida Valli, and Louis Jourdan were unsuited to their roles. Producer David O. Selznick asserted his power as studio head to insist that Hitchcock use them.
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An exact replica of the Old Bailey courtroom was constructed for the court scenes at a cost of four hundred thousand dollars.
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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.
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Sir Alfred Hitchcock wanted to cast Sir Laurence Olivier or Ronald Colman as Anthony Keane, Greta Garbo as Mrs. Paradine, and Robert Newton as William Marsh, the role which became André Latour.
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Sir Alfred Hitchcock wanted to direct Ingrid Bergman as the woman on trial for killing her husband, the part that eventually went to Alida Valli. Bergman didn't want to do another movie for Producer David O. Selznick.
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Alfred Hitchcock's last movie under contract with David O. Selznick.
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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."
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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."
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Director Sir Alfred Hitchcock and Producer David O. Selznick wanted Ronald Colman or Sir Laurence Olivier for the role of Malcolm Keane, but both were unavailable: Colman was making A Double Life (1947) and Olivier was making Hamlet (1948). So the role went to Gregory Peck, and the name "Malcolm Keane" was changed to "Anthony Keane."
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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.
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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.
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Ben Hecht and James Bridie wrote the original screenplay, based on the adaptation by Alma Reville. But Producer David O. Selznick wasn't pleased, so he re-wrote the script, and received sole screenwriting credit.
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James Mason was considered for the role of Anthony Keane.
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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.
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"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a sixty minute radio adaptation of this movie on May 9, 1949 with Louis Jourdan and Alida Valli reprising their roles, and Joseph Cotten as Keane.
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DIRECTOR CAMEO (Sir Alfred Hitchcock): Getting off a train at the Cumberland station carrying a cello.
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It was Sir Alfred Hitchcock who selected Ann Todd for the role of Gay Keane.
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Sir Alfred Hitchcock wanted Robert Newton for the role of William Marsh. The role went to Louis Jourdan, so the name William Marsh was changed to the Frenchman André Latour.
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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.
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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.
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One of several David O. Selznick movies sold to ABC as a movie "package".
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Sir Alfred Hitchock wanted William Marsh (André Latour) to be "a manure-smelling stable hand, a man really reeked of manure", so he tried to get Robert Newton for the role.
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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.
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According to François Truffaut, Director Stanley Kramer may have watched this movie before he shot the Nuremberg trial in Judgment at Nuremberg (1961). Truffaut noted some similarities between the two movies in an audio interview with Sir Alfred Hitchcock.
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DIRECTOR CAMEO (Sir Alfred Hitchcock): (At around thirty-eight minutes) As a man exiting the Cumberland train station, carrying a cello case and blowing a puff from a cigarette.
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Louis Jourdan appears more than forty minutes in.
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In the script, Malcolm Keane (Anthony Keane) is an Irishman. Gregory Peck was of Irish descent.
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The film takes place in 1946.
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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.
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Colonel Richard Patrick Irving "Dickie" Paradine died on May 6, 1946.
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André Latour was born in 1916.
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Anthony and Gay Keane were married in 1935.
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