Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Paradine Case (1947)

Hitchcock! Hitchcock! Hitchcock!

Sweet establishing shots, oh yes

Genre: Drama

Starring: Gregory Peck (To Kill A Mockingbird; Cape Fear), Alida Valli (The Third Man; Suspiria)

Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock (Saboteur; The Lady Vanishes)

Overview: When a woman is accused of poisoning her blind old husband, she hires the best lawyer in the world to defend her, Atticus Finch!

Acting: Gregory Peck is one of those guys who's totally versatile. He's been Douglas MacArthur, the father of the spawn of Satan, even Captain Ahab hunting after Moby Dick! But after all that, I still know that I'll always remember him best in his roles as lawyers. He makes a good lawyer. You believe it. Sadly in this one he plays a boring lawyer, but that's really realistic isn't it? Players play well, though it's true they could have been better chosen.
Rating: 8

Cinematography: When this began, I was instantly impressed with producer Selznick's touch of grandiose interiors. Crane shots, nice professional zooms, some really nice camera work. I was equally impressed with the occasional artistic Hitchcockian display. Yes, it's very well made. Perhaps I paid so much attention to the look because the rest was so flat...
Rating: 8

Script: If you've been following the course of Hitchcockian study, you'll know that the love triangle is pretty much expected as an element with him as a McGuffin is. Knowing that, you expect the story to go right where it does, a lawyer conflicted with the case because of the women involved. What I didn't expect was a real courtroom-style discourse for so much of the film's duration. If you've even spent some time hanging around in court just to see how the wheels of justice turn, then you'll know that they turn slowly, and can get downright boring. Well you can't tell me that it wasn't hyper-realistic. To think that Alfred Hitchcock himself once said "What is drama but the dull bits cut out?" Ugh.
Rating: 6

Plot: When this began, I was hunkering down all ready for the stuff of legend. I mean a film directed by Alfred Hitchcock on the heels of what's considered one of his greatest films, and right around the time when his films were all ones worthy of remembering. It starts off with a great premise, the whole treading in the dangerous waters of a beautiful client and doing all you can to save her from the noose. Well go figure the writer wrote something as bland as an actual trial full of boring questions and oh look at that, a completely unnecessary love interest plot.
Rating: 6

Mood: So I figured out what a producer really does. In Selznick's case it's make sure there's a lot of big big big sets. I like that. What I don't like is the bloated head they get when they decide to take over a production so completely that the director is left with a cast he doesn't like all that much for the roles herein. Remember when you were in that group project and one person had to have it just one way? Remember how you worked under those conditions? yeah. Hitchcock too.
Rating: 7

Overall Rating: 70% (Pair a' Slow Hours)

Aftertaste: I was told (and how!) that our famous Hitchcockian producer, Senor Selznick, was all too responsible for molesting this film. He forced Hitchcock's hand in the casting, he forced a lot. He exerted much pressure upon the film, and ultimately Hitchcock is the one who had to have his name splayed all over it.Terry Gilliam wasn't free of the producer's reigns when he made The Brothers Grimm, and ultimately a film that SHOULD have been great, just ended up being mediocre, due to the producers, much like this one.