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May 04, 2015


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I was reflecting about how while watching The Paradine Case I was holding out some hope until the end that Mrs. Paradine was innocent, even as the warning signs piled up and even though, viewed objectively, Alida Valli's icy demeanor shouldn't inspire a lot of trust. I think a good deal of that hope does come from The Wrong Man vibe of the prison scenes, especially the first in which we see her led to her cell. (Doesn't help that I can call on a bit of personal experience here that makes the scene all that more disquieting.) "Look how horrible that is!" my brain says. "She can't possibly have done it."

"[Mrs. Keane's] refusal to play along is ostensibly what leads to Horfield’s dismissive, contemptuous treatment of Gregory Peck’s Keane in court, but this isn’t followed through with the strength of this initial impetus."

I admit, I thought this was deliberate maybe: offering up the hint of an explanation for Horfield's hostility toward Keane, but not insisting on that explanation, so that the viewer isn't forcibly made to sympathize with Keane. But as David Cairns pointed out when he covered The Paradine Case some years ago, Keane makes such a bad impression overall that Horfield's bias seems almost justified. "I'd favour Leo G. Carroll too."

D Cairns

I can't remember anything I wrote about this one but I know I wasn't too forgiving -- but I liked those prison scenes too. Strikingly bleak and, to me, much more beautiful than the opulent homes

Sal C

I was on honeymoon #1 in Paris when Cinematheque Francaise was in the midst of an exhaustive Hitchcock retro. Most of the screenings held while I was in town were sold out except for...you guessed it. I think the calendar even said something like "frequently considered his worst film", or something to that effect. I didn't understand why. I enjoyed it immensely,but chalked that up to the "experience" for many years. Nice to read such a thoughtful analysis.

Bill Hicks

The sense of being wrongly imprisoned is not lessened by the fact that one is guilty--the two things are utterly different, viz Monophylos. Thus is it realistic to at the same time read all the "clues" to Mrs. Paradine's guilt, and experience her emotions upon being imprisoned as including a scream of "Unjust!" Psychologically, this is an expression of narcissism perhaps.

Generally--what a fantastic dialog. Thank both of you so much!

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