Monday, July 12, 2010

The Paradine Case (1948)

TCM is celebrating Gregory Peck every Monday this month. Most notably recognized for his role as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, I personally have never taken note of Peck's talent beyond his ability to perfect a quiet reserve until now. I caught a bit of The Paradine Case a few weeks back and made a note to record it when it came on again.
The last of Hitchcock's films under his contract with David O. Selznick, The Paradine Case cannot really be described as a thriller, though it does have some tense moments and is completely enthralling. A story similar to Anatomy of a Murder, the viewer is not quite sure whether the accused is guilty or not. Ms. Paradine (Alida Valli), held on the charge that she murdered her husband, the blinded war hero Colonel Paradine, is in need of a good lawyer to avoid the hangman's rope. The family solicitor, Sir Simon Flaquer (Charles Coburn) recommends his friend Anthony Keane (Gregory Peck). Keane, a happily married man is instantly taken with Ms. Paradine. Despite her patience and strength, Keane is keen to ride to her rescue. Though she admits to having had several dalliances in the past, he concludes she's simply a victim of her own beauty and defies anyone who puts her down. He is so convinced of her innocence, he is willing to sacrifice his marriage and career to save her. Meanwhile, his equally patient and strong wife Gay (Ann Todd) encourages him to stick with the case and prays that Ms. Paradine is freed from the charges so that she may fight for her husband on even grounds.
In short, The Paradine Case, though not one of Hitchcock's most thrilling or suspenseful films, is still quite entertaining. Without giving anymore of the movie away, I would like to mention that Charles Laughton colors the film by playing a particularly slimy character with his ever suffering wife played by Ethel Barrymore.
It's also a good example of how silly I am to have not seen more of Gregory Peck until now. (Insert girlfan sigh here)

Tonight on TCM!
Check out Gregory Peck and Greer Garson in The Valley of Decision! It's quite good!

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