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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Valli Victorious
Alida Valli didn't make very many pictures in the USA, but the ones she did are without exception worth seeing.

In Italy, of course, she is as important to the indigenous cinema as Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida put together. But here is the USA, she starred in a mere handful of pictures, and we remember her mainly via her connection to David Selznick, for...
Published on August 23, 2004 by Kevin Killian

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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars silly melodrama, but Louis Jordan is nice to look at
Frankly, I can't see what the fuss is all about. We watch Gregory Peck's character make a fool of himself for an nearly two hours over his beautiful client, Mrs. Paradine, with whom he is harmlessly infatuated. Well, it would have been a harmless infatuation if he weren't such a damn fool.. making sloppy errors that no lawyer, as good as he is supposed to be, would...
Published on August 18, 2000 by silo1013


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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Valli Victorious, August 23, 2004
By 
Kevin Killian (San Francisco, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Paradine Case (DVD)
Alida Valli didn't make very many pictures in the USA, but the ones she did are without exception worth seeing.

In Italy, of course, she is as important to the indigenous cinema as Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida put together. But here is the USA, she starred in a mere handful of pictures, and we remember her mainly via her connection to David Selznick, for whom she made THE THIRD MAN and THE PARADINE CASE. THE MIRACLE OF THE BELLS and WALK SOFTLY, STRANGER are also worth seeing. In THE PARADINE CASE, she is on trial for murdering her husband in a stuffy British courtroom, to which her sultry and exotic beauty is continually being counterpointed. She is a bird in a gilded cage all right, literally and figuratively. Gregory Peck falls hard for her, and it's watching how low he goes that makes this film one of Hitchcock's best. He even quarrels with his wife, the cold, perfect Ann Todd, and makes it plain to her and to everyone in their bourgeois social circle that he has fallen in love with his client, thus breaking all the rules in one fell swoop.

He begins to suspect that Valli has been framed, and he begins to suspect Louis Jourdan, Paradine's handsome manservant, of an illicit interest in his master's wife. The scenes between Peck and Jourdan are fiery and full of passion. Each of them is fighting for his life and honor. There is as well an erotic charge between the two of them. In a sense Peck is representing the colonialist who seeks authenticity by embroiling himself in the lives and bodies of a darker and more obviously sexed people, whether they be Italian or French. He gets slapped down for his efforts.

Even if you've seen THE PARADINE CASE fifty times, there's always something fresh to watch, whether it's Charles Coburn acting especially kinky, or Ann Todd from THE SEVENTH VEIL acting masochistic one more time. But most of all the movie is trying to make us see Valli as a new Garbo, who had retired from the screen and whom Selznick believed we would swallow Valli as a successor to. In my opinion, she's greater than Garbo by a country mile.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "That woman is bad, bad to the bone...", February 25, 2003
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This review is from: The Paradine Case (DVD)
Thus spake Andre La Tour, the valet and the catalyst for the murder of Col. Paradine. Valli is Mrs. Paradine, and she wants Andre La Tour, so badly she murders her husband and benefactor to remove any and all obstacles standing between her and La Tour. Louis Jourdan is La Tour, and handsome in a sharp, chiseled way; Valli is really something to see, very beautiful and arresting, and the accent further enhances her mysterious image. Gregory Peck, her attorney, falls for her, hard and fast, and is almost sympathetic in his desire to possess her. Ann Todd, a curious mixture of ice and warmth, is steadfast in her loyalty to her husband, and Joan Tetzel is good as her friend and the daughter of Charles Coburn, (I enjoy the banter between Coburn and Tetzel, he is always a joy to watch)who is a colleague of Gregory Peck's. The score by Franz Waxman is one of the stars of the movie, and haunting, as his music always is. The movie is unusual and quieter than the typical Hitchcockian fare, but should not be judged more harshly for that, but taken on it's own merits, which it has in abundance. Charles Laughton ("curious how the convolutions of a walnut resemble those of the human brain...") is wonderful as the censorious and righteous Judge of the proceedings, and rather an unpleastant bully to his wife, Ethel Barrymore, who seems rather wasted in this weak role as the much maligned wife. She is one of my favorite actresses, but I much prefer her in "The Spiral Staircase", a much richer role and one more worthy of her immense talent. I own this on VHS and DVD, and of course, the DVD is far superior in quality.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stellar cast in good Hitchcock picture, September 11, 2002
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This review is from: The Paradine Case (DVD)
Pleasant and interesting courtroom drama set in England, about a beautiful young widow, accused of murdering her much-older, rich and blind husband, defended on trial by a successful barrister who, in the process, gets caught under her spell, eventually falling in love with her.
Italian actress (Alida) Valli is alluring, ravishing, sophisticated and mysterious, as the lady in question. Gregory Peck is good as the barrister, so absolutely infatuated with Valli, that risks his own career for her sake. English actress Ann Todd is also good as his troubled wife. Others in this stellar cast: Charles Coburn, Joan Tetzel, Louis Jourdan, Ethel Barrymore and, last but not least, Charles Laughton, who gives an excellent performance as an aristrocratic, rather cruel and ironic Judge.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars silly melodrama, but Louis Jordan is nice to look at, August 18, 2000
This review is from: The Paradine Case (DVD)
Frankly, I can't see what the fuss is all about. We watch Gregory Peck's character make a fool of himself for an nearly two hours over his beautiful client, Mrs. Paradine, with whom he is harmlessly infatuated. Well, it would have been a harmless infatuation if he weren't such a damn fool.. making sloppy errors that no lawyer, as good as he is supposed to be, would ever make, no matter how moony and googly eyed he was over his client. The dramatic climax of the movie left me thinking, "Was that all?". The only high points in The Paradine Case for me were a young and very good-looking Louis Jordan, and the usual Hitchcock directorial touches; one scene in particular I found odd and strangely delightful: At one point Gregory Peck is confronted by Louis Jordan's suspiciously enigmatic character. The more they protest they hate each other, the closer they move toward each other, and the tension and chemistry was so odd I felt convinced they were either about to tear into each other like wild dogs, or make out. *laugh*
But really, the story is a bit too silly and melodramatic for my taste. I found Marnie to be a *much* better film [at least stylistically, and sloppy 60's psychology I can excuse more easily than melodrama], and I understand that it's generally panned, while this gets nothing but praise [from Amazon reviewers, at any rate]. Go figure.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not nearly as bad as its reputation would lead you to believe, May 24, 2010
This review is from: The Paradine Case (DVD)
THE PARADINE CASE is widely regarded as the worst of his films made while under contract with David O. Selznick and one of his weakest films during the entire period after leaving England for Hollywood. Certainly the film is dull and unexciting. But it truly is not as terrible as one might be led to expect.

Most critics blame the film's failings less on Hitchcock than on David O. Selznick. Although Selznick was responsible for Hitchcock coming to the U.S., having signed him to a seven year contract, they both quickly learned that they had incompatible working styles. Hitchcock was extremely well-organized, and if the widespread myth that he knew every scene ahead of time is incorrect (Bill Krohn -- who provides with Stephen Rebello the commentary for the film -- dispelled this myth in his superb book HITCHCOCK AT WORK), he did have a very good idea of what he was going to do. He shot his films sequentially, which is a very unusual practice. In REBECCA, Hitchcock very quickly realized that Selznick was an interfering producer, and developed a number of mechanisms to keep him at bay, primarily only filming what he deemed necessary for the final film, leaving Selznick with no film with which to work for recreating the film in the editing process. For the most part after REBECCA, Selznick lent -- at a substantial fee -- Hitchcock out to other studios, so that over the course of their seven-year contract they actually did relatively little work together. But in THE PARADINE CASE, Selznick was at his interfering best. It is pretty well known that this film cost as much as GONE WITH THE WIND, primarily through the astonishing number of scenes that Selznick ordered to be reshot and because of the extensive rewrites he undertook. As a result, Hitchcock rapidly lost interest in the project, except to get it (and his relationship with Selznick) over with as quickly as possible.

When you read about the changes that Selznick made to the film, you can get pretty upset and wonder what the film would have been like had Hitchcock gotten his way. Frankly, the story sounds about the same and I personally doubt that it would have been one of his best films, but from a cinematic standpoint it sounds like it would have been fascinating to look at. Hitchcock had begun more and more to experiment with long tracking shots, pushing the limitations of the heavy cameras of the time to the breaking point. He had numerous shots that would have involved extremely long unbroken shots. Selznick, whose cinematic sensibilities were extremely conservative, killed all the long shots. The most grating amendment by Selznick comes in the first shot in the film. A servant carries a tray with drinks on it towards the back of a very upper class dwelling, he opens a door, and in Hitchcock's original cut would have followed him through additional rooms and passageways to the back. But Selznick jarringly cuts from the servant entering the room to his approaching his mistress, eliminating all the bits in between.

This shows the fundamental contrast between Selznick and Hitchcock. Selznick was obsessed with words; the films that he most fully molded contained endless scenes of dialogue. Hitchcock was a visual artist. He preferred to move the story forward with the camera rather than with characters talking to one another.

The interesting aspects of the film reside in two things: the excellent cast and the astonishing camera work.

Although Charles Laughton had been absolutely dreadful in Hitchcock's final British period film, JAMAICA INN (Hitchcock often sleepwalked through projects that bored him, like JAMAICA INN or STAGE FRIGHT or DIAL M FOR MURDER, and it isn't an accident that these are among his weakest films -- by the way, had Hitchcock had his way, there would have been even more of a JAMAICA INN quality to THE PARADINE CASE, if he had been successful in getting Robert Newton cast in the Louis Jourdan role -- Newton played the heroic lead in JAMAICA INN, though most Americans will know him as the greatest of all Long John Silver's, from the Disney version of TREASURE ISLAND), he is fascinating here in a small role as a lecherous judge. The brilliance of the camera work in the film is shown in one great moment involving Laughton. At a dinner after the men have withdrawn for their cigars, the men enter a room where the women are all sitting. The camera zooms in on a close up on Laughton looking off to the side and then cuts from him to Ann Todd sitting on a couch, with the camera then zooming in on her bare shoulder for an extreme close up. It is a brilliant moment, telling the viewer just about everything one needs to know about Laughton's character. One of my favorite character actors, Charles Coburn, made his only appearance in a Hitchcock film. Two other actors who appeared in a host of Hitchcock projects either on TV on in film are in it as well, Leo G. Carroll and John Williams (whose performance was largely left on the cutting room floor -- he would return for memorable roles in DIAL M FOR MURDER and TO CATCH A THIEF, and made more appearances on the Hitchcock TV show than any other actor, including several episodes directed by Hitchcock).

Despite Selznick's interference and anesthetizing of the entire film, there are some interesting moments in an otherwise exceedingly dull film. For instance, in the scene in which Latour enters the courtroom to testify, the camera describes an arc in following his entry and course along the back of the courtroom to the witness stand, all while keeping a severe close up on Alida Valli's face. Then, after his testimony is finished, the camera describes the same shot from his point of view. There is a great deal of excellent composition in almost every scene. If one wanted a template for interesting things to do with a camera, this film could provide it. Visually, this is one of Hitchcock's most interesting films of the forties. Contentwise, it is one of his dullest. We can only speculate the degree to which the boring aspects of the film were due to Selznick. Clearly, the film, already visually arresting, would have been even more interesting from a cinematography point of view.

The very long, unbroken shots that Hitchcock so desperately wanted to do in THE PARADINE CASE would find fruition in his next film, his first after leaving Selznick, ROPE. It was not a terribly interesting film except from a technical standpoint. Hitchcock would return to long cuts from time to time, most memorably in FRENZY, but never to such an extent. It would also be a few years before Hitchcock fully found his stride. But once he did he turned out a long string of astonishing masterpieces. Here is what I find amazing. If Hitchcock had never made another film after THE PARADINE CASE, he would be remembered as one of the greatest directors of all time. But in 1947, at the time of the release of this film, only about four movies would make the list of his ten greatest films -- THE THIRTY NINE STEPS, THE LADY VANISHES, SHADOW OF A DOUBT, and NOTORIOUS. His best years were still ahead of him.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not exactly an escape from Dullsville, February 28, 2013
This review is from: The Paradine Case (DVD)
For a description of the plot, etc., read other reviews. Just some thoughts on this movie...

The Paradine Case (1947) is an Alfred Hitchcock drama that stars Gregory Peck, Ann Todd, Alida Valli (Miss Tanner in "Suspiria"), Louis Jourdan, Ethel Barrymore, and Charles Laughton. This courtroom drama is a different kind of Hitchcock movie in that it's very slow moving with lots of dialogue and no action. This doesn't mean it's a bad movie, it just means that it won't satisfy a lot of viewers who are used to the trademark Hitchcock elements of suspense and action. It does, of course, have the trademark glamour that's present in the vast majority of Hitchcock's movies. But the movie is rather dull most of the time.

One thing this movie has going for it is that it's beautifully shot, with great cinematography, camerawork, lighting, atmosphere, and sets. The picture quality is great as well. This was Hitchcock's last collaboration with producer David O. Selznick (the others were "Rebecca" and "Spellbound"). There's something about the movies where Hitchcock and Selznick teamed up - they seem to have a slightly different feel to them and an extra rich dark atmosphere. The musical score by Franz Waxman is decent. The cast is great as well, with many big name actors, and Alida Valli is nice to look at. The acting is also great.

If you're a Hitchcock completeist, then see this movie and buy it as well. If you're not a completeist, this isn't 100% necessary viewing. Hitchcock himself didn't care for this movie.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The underrated Paradine Case, July 8, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Paradine Case [VHS] (VHS Tape)
With Hitchcock you never can be sure when one of his throwaway minor efforts, through a second and third viewing, years apart, can summon up intriging motives and subtle obsessions. Peck's being smittened by a women who admits is not of "easy virtue" and stays smittened inspite of her sneering castrating tone with him concerning her on again off again love/hate relations with her valet, who either assisted her or paid witness to the death of her blind husband. Peck (her defence lawyer Keane) is blindly convinced of her innocence.One can't help recalling Hitchcock's masterpiece of obsession Vertigo, especially in the scene when his jealous wife fears that her husband will fail to get her acquitted. that would mean he would carry his love into her death. the supporting cast are essential to the ambience of the plot, especially Ethel Barrymore's frightened "Birdie"type behavoir as the judges wife. I think The Paradine case deserves a new trial.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent performances all around!, August 20, 2002
This review is from: The Paradine Case (DVD)
... Hitchcock himself said, in his Francois Truffaut interview, that he was handed this script by the studio and forced to work with it. Work with it he did, "The Paradine Case features excellent performances by nearly all involved. The leads aside, Peck and Valli are both good, there is Charles Laughton, Ann Todd, Louis Jourdan and Ethel Barrymore, who received an Academy Award nomination. The magic of Alfred Hitchcock was also in his ability to work with even the weakest script and make a compelling film, if not a great film. In the same interview he says much the same for the script of "I Confess" with Montgomery Clift. Even the story for "Vertigo". one of his best works and my all time favorite, he admits had some real problems that he felt were never completely solved. Hitchcock was an artist and made great films, inspite of sometimes getting handed a less than desirable script or having to cast a studio player under contract. This was more often the case in his earlier studio days when he had less artistic control. I enjoy "The Paradine Case", as the actors, under the master's direction, truly practice their craft.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Selznick Memo Movie, February 28, 2010
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This review is from: The Paradine Case (DVD)
Nominally an Alfred Hitchcock film, it has egomaniac David O. Selznick's paw prints all over it (and his name, literally, all over the opening credits). It's surprising he didn't claim he played all the on-screen parts, did the cinematography, and wrote the film score! Selznick rewrote the script and essentially took full credit as the screenplay writer. The film was a box office disaster, and the last of Hitchcock's films for Selznick (Hitchcock did not review his contract--wonder why?!).

The script plays like a Selznick memo (dull, sappy, and overly wordy) except for the court room scenes which are taught, dramatic, and suspenseful. These were probably written by Alma Reville (Hitchcock's spouse) which seem to have some how escaped the full impact of the "Selznick Touch." The stellar cast includes Gregory Peck (straining to act older with gray streaks of hair), Alida Valli (stunning and "presented" by Selznick), and Ann Todd (who has never looked worse). Score is by Franz Waxman whose lush and haunting music invokes memories of his earlier scores for REBECCA (1940) and SUSPICION (1941), and helps much to counteract Selznick's tedious, repetitious dialog. There is more than a hint of homosexuality between the murder victim, a blind Colonel Paradine (never seen except in a painting), and his valet (played by a very young Louis Jourdan "presented" by Selznick).

Hitchcock appears on-screen leaving a train car (behind Peck) with a cello case. This is the reverse of his forth-coming cameo in STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (1951). (What's with Hitchcock and trains, anyway?)

The restored film presented on this disc is a thing of beauty.

WILLIAM FLANIGAN, Ph.D.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long Overdue Recognition, November 14, 2007
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This review is from: The Paradine Case (DVD)
Alfred Hitchcock's THE PARADINE CASE is an interesting film from this director. On the surface it appears to be about a courtroom murder case where the accused Misses Paradine (Alida Valli) is defended by barrister (Gregory Peck) who becomes infatuated by here statuesque beauty and in doing so undermines his marriage to Ann Todd. Valli is accused of murdering her husband who we never see in person but only in a portrait. We never actually see the murder on screen. We must rely on the testimony of the witnesses to come to some conclusion about Mister Paradine's demise. Louis Jourdan is the late Mister Paradine's manservant. His relationship to both Mister and Misses Paradine leaves many questions for the viewer. Jourdan who delivers one of his best performances expertly plays this pivotal character. The film is really about relationships ending and evolving and to a degree about relationships that are imagined. Relationships end or are put on hold. Relationships reveal sharp realities for the central characters and they must come to terms with their own conduct. Other relationships such as Charels Laughton and his wife Ethel Barrymore have remained static and listless. They each fulfill what is left of a relationship that should never have been. The submissive Barrymore dutifully endures the bullying nature of Laughton, the presiding judge. Being a David O. Selznick's picture the production is lavish yet somehow it is overshadowed by the bleak nature of the screenplay. The production values are almost a counterpoint to the story and to actress Valli's rather sullen performance, which remains a bit of an enigma. Gregory Peck's performance is very good. Because of his basic good nature the viewer feels for his flawed character and his realization of this that will no doubt come by the end of the film. Louis Jourdan flat out gives a memorable and impressive performance showing off his mastery of histrionics. This film deserves long overdue attention.
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The Paradine Case
The Paradine Case by Alfred Hitchcock (DVD - 2007)
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