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This is one of the least known films of Hitchcock’s maturity, and one of those that most rewards rediscovery, even though his own memories of the production were bad: impatient to get away to launch his independent company with Rope, he resented the hands-on interference at every stage, from scripting to editing, of producer David O. Selznick. The film, however, stands up as as an absorbing and complex courtroom drama, subject of some especially illuminating analysis in Michael Walker’s great 2005 book, Hitchcock’s Motifs.

The cast brings together charismatic players from Hollywood, England and Europe; Alida Valli never quite fulfilled her mission to become the new Garbo or the new Bergman, but she is as enigmatically memorable, playing the accused Mrs Paradine (pronounced Paradeen), as she would be soon afterwards in The Third Man.

Screening as part of The Genius of Hitchcock: Part One (December 9th – 30th).

115 minutes, U.S.A., 1947, Black and White, 35mm


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