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A rare Hitchcock courtroom drama,
This review is from: The Paradine Case: Alfred Hitchcock [DVD]  (DVD)
The Paradine Case (1947) stands as a rare Hitchcock courtroom drama. It is one of the Hitch-Selznick films, where Selznick also wrote the script. A beautiful woman Maddalena Anna Paradine (played by Alida Valli) stands accused of murdering her wealthy, blind husband. She enlists the aid of renowned lawyer Anthony Keane (Gregory Peck). As they prepare her defense, the chemistry between the two begins to heat up. And as his emotions for Mrs. Paradine grow stronger, Keane grows more convinced of her innocence. The case will be a difficult one, however, as the judge (Charles Laughton, again) is no friend of Keane's; the queen's prosecutor, played by the excellent Leo G. Carroll, is a serious foe; and only an inspired defense will have any chance of clearing Mrs. Paradine. Only after a series of stunning upsets does Keane realize that, for the first time in his career, he has allowed his heart to rule his head. In a typically perverse Hitchcockian development, the film's most unpleasant character (as usual), an autocratic, vindictive judge played by Laughton, is one of the few who can see through Anna's facade.Small fortune was invested to construct an exact replica of the Old Bailey courtroom for the court scenes.
Peck is one of my all-time favourites. I regard him as one of the very greatest but his American accent sometimes seemed odd, misfit in the Old Bailey courtroom. Yet Peck is still a great actor, and I LOVE court room dramas.
The film was a box-office disappointment, spelling the end of the always-rocky association between Hitch and the mighty Selznick. Hitch wanted Greta Garbo to play Anna Paradine, and indeed a screen test was filmed, but Garbo ultimately declined. Hitch also wanted to cast Laurence Olivier or Ronald Colman as Anthony Keane, but Selznick asserted his power as studio head to insist that Hitchcock use them.
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Initial post: 10 Jun 2012 13:44:57 BDT
S. Ramsey-Hardy says:
Garbo did not film a test for the part of Mrs.Paradine, though the role was offered to her.
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