- The Paradine Case review by Steve Mason
Hitchcock again returns to an English location for his oddest American film. It feels like it is building up to a rather interesting murder trial but frustrates at the last when it suddenly ends and the audience discovers it has watched a character study and not a thriller at all.
It was a troubled production and edited several times as Selznick took control and even wrote a new screenplay after rejecting screen legend Ben Hecht's. Several scenes go on after any possible interest in them is over.
An oddity is that post-release Selznick had its length greatly reduced after Ethel Barrymore had been nominated for a supporting actor Oscar, cutting out most of her scenes and leaving her with three minutes of inconsequential screen time. Hitch was experimenting with long tracking takes, but Selznick just cut them out. The edited material was later lost in an accident.
But while it is a disappointing film of doubtful psychology and little humour, it isn't boring and Hitch drives us through a disjointed plot with some skill and the actors, though squandered, are sincere. Charles Laughton's voyeuristic interest in Ann Todd is one of the few typical Hitchcock touches that remains. I'm filing this one under contractual obligations.
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