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Paradine Case, The

Charles Laughton and Gregory Peck don the wigs and take to a bloody massive Old Bailey set to prosecute suspected spouse poisoner Alida ‘Suspiria’ Valli in this mid-period courtroom drama directed by everyone’s favourite master of suspense. He’s carrying a cello in his cameo for this one, by the way, as distinct from Strangers on a Train, in which he carried a double bass. Think harder, Alfie!



  1. Matt Patton

    April 3, 2010 at 1:09 am

    Hitchcock’s last film under his seven-year contract with David Selznick (most of which had been spent on loan-out to other studios). The screenplay was re-written three times (the last time by Selznick, who basically transcribed the action and dialogue straight out of the source novel–of course, John Huston did pretty much the same thing when he scripted his version of THE MALTESE FALCON). A second unit was sent to England to shoot extensive, and costly, background footage–most of which was never used. Hitchcock had wanted Greta Garbo and Laurence Olivier to play the spouse-spiker and her smitten barrister–he got Alida Valli and Gregory Peck (she was OK–he didn’t even sound English). And the tough, manly groom that Valli is cheating on her husband with was played by . . . Louis Jourdan. Oh, and Ann Todd wrings her hands a lot and fends off Laughton’s sleazy advances. Fortunately, everybody went on to better things, including Hitchcock. And, for that matter, Selznick.

  2. George White

    October 9, 2020 at 12:49 pm

    Another example of Americans making British buildings absolutely massive – see also the Conjuring 2 and the flats in the Rathbone Sherlock Holmes flicks.

  3. Sidney Balmoral James

    October 9, 2020 at 5:39 pm

    Selznick was notorious for interfering endlessly in his productions, and this one was a case in point – cost a fortune, and is probably Hitchcock’s worst film from this era. He famously wanted Robert Newton for the Louis Jordan role, which would have changed the dynamic of the film considerably. Not sure old Greg quite pulls this off either. Charles Laughton’s character is presumably based on Lord Chief Justice Rayner Goddard, whose – ahem – enjoyment of sentencing people to death was recorded by his valet.

  4. Richardpd

    October 9, 2020 at 11:24 pm

    Supposedly the murderer in Rear Window was made to look like David Selznick because of Hitchcock’s dislike of him interfering in the making of his films.

  5. George White

    November 7, 2021 at 2:16 pm

    Just watched A Woman’s Vengeance – another US film featuring a large Old Bailey set and like Witness and Paradine, featuring John Williams (the Scotland Yard man in anything made in the US between 1948 and 1973)…

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