The Paradine Case


Action / Crime / Drama / Romance / Thriller

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN

Top cast

Alfred Hitchcock Photo
Alfred Hitchcock as Man Carrying Cello Case
Gregory Peck Photo
Gregory Peck as Anthony Keane
Leo G. Carroll Photo
Leo G. Carroll as Sir Joseph
Alida Valli Photo
Alida Valli as Maddalena Anna Paradine
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.03 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 54 min
P/S 2 / 3
1.91 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 54 min
P/S 0 / 6

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by jzappa7 / 10

Great Drama Glossed Over

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.

Reviewed by plato-118 / 10

Actually, Pretty Good

I liked this one, even though most people don't. It's a fascinating tale, and it seems very much Hitchcockian. Sure, it seems to drag at times, but the plot, directing, and the acting is good. Louis Jourdan is probably the best actor in this whole production. And to think this is his first English-speaking film. Gregory Peck is pretty good, also. I liked at the beginning when the cops arrested Alida Valli, and the audience isn't really sure why that is. Andre Latour's (Jourdan) little breakdown (I use breakdown for want of a better word) in the courtroom is terrific. I really love this movie, and I don't care how boring other people say it is. I would recommend this movie to anyone who thinks they can appreciate it.

Reviewed by TheLittleSongbird6 / 10

Worth a look, but one of the master of suspense's lesser films

While I don't consider any of Alfred Hitchcock's films truly terrible- then again there may be some bias as he is my favourite director- I do think there are some disappointments in his resume. And unfortunately The Paradine Case, while not a disaster in any shape or form, is one of them. As always with Hitchcock's films The Paradine Case is well made, everything is very slick and evocatively shot. Some of the shots are really inspired, the beginning with Alida Valli being arrested was the standout while the shot introducing Louis Jourdan is quite innovative Hitchcock's direction is good and thoughtful enough, if not quite as involved as it usually is, I think how the story is dealt with is part of why and studio interference being another factor. The music is memorable and ominous, but never obvious. And a vast majority of the cast are very good. Coming off best is Charles Laughton, who literally chews the scenery and it was a shrewd, somewhat malevolent and gleefully hammy performance of a truly beastly character indeed.

Alida Valli is beautiful and mysterious, very magnetic to watch, if perhaps rather cold for some viewers. Ethel Barrymore has very little to do and was deserving of a better developed subplot and character, but this is an example of a support performance in this position that makes the most of what they have, Barrymore did very well in that respect. The scene between her and Laughton at the end is indeed chilling. Charles Coburn is nicely understated in one of the more fleshed-out roles of the film, Louis Jourdan makes a promising debut while Leo G. Caroll and Joan Tretzel are equally fine. Ann Todd gives a loyal and deeply felt performance, but like Barrymore is given little to do in a role that is somewhat of a cliché.

I personally however found Gregory Peck miscast in the lead role. I do like Peck especially in To Kill a Mockingbird, but here in stiff and remote form I don't think I've seen him this uncomfortable before. His British accent doesn't convince at all either. There are other problems with The Paradine Case though too. The story and script are the main culprits. The story feels much too thin and stretched out, which made the film feel overlong, and the turgid pacing makes it even duller. The script is a mix of overly-melodramatic soap opera and too-wordy courtroom scenes. Everything just felt stilted and overwrought, the courtroom scenes especially could have been so intriguing but the unbelievable dialogue just let things significantly. The characters are not particularly well drawn, the most interesting are Valli's and especially Laughton's, while if Todd and Barrymore hadn't done as well as they had their characters would have made no impression whatsoever.

Overall, a disappointing Hitchcock, considering the cast and how good so many of Hitchcock's other films are, but hardly a film so bad that you prefer to forget it ever existed. 6/10 Bethany Cox

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