Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Paradine Case (Alfred Hitchcock, 1947) D

If Alfred Hitchcock's name hadn't appeared in the credits, I might have never guessed that he was the director behind this utter mess. Gregory Peck is way too young and entirely miscast as the barrister defending bad girl Alida Valli (doing a horrible imitation of Garbo) of murdering her husband. I never bought the fact that he was in love with Valli (a fact upon which most of the screenplay hinders on) since they had absolutely no chemistry whatsoever. Speaking of the screenplay, it's a pretty lousy one to begin with. The courtroom scenes seem to drag on and on with repetitive dialogue and long, winded monologues about the relationship between Valli and her dead husband's valet (Louis Jourdan). Just because you constantly switch back and forth between the "they love each other/they hate each other" facet of Valli and Jourdan's relationship doesn't make it dramatic or even interesting; get to the fucking point already. And what the fuck was up with Ethel Barrymore's performance here? How in the hell did she get nominated for that two-scene performance in which she stammers, coughs and recoils in fear of her husband (Charles Laughton, as sturdy and reliable as ever)? There was no acting going on in that performance- just a couple of dumb tricks that any half-ass actress could have done.

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