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#30 The Paradine Case

Gregory Peck stars in this courtroom drama that is filled with mystery despite not being able to hold your attention. In this story the lawyer falls in love with the woman he’s defending, cold as ice and on trial for murder. Even with a happy marriage the man can’t resist his temptation and ultimately falls apart in his profession and as a man altogether. The woman is in love with the servant, who the lawyer has accused and led to suicide. With no more reason to live the woman reveals she indeed poisoned her husband, and vehemently despises her lawyer who kept her from being with the one she loves. Perhaps the only two characters that save this film are the irritated Judge and his idealistic wife, played by the great Charles Laughton and Ethel Barrymore, the latter who was nominated for an academy award. A scene where Barrymore pleads with Laughton to show mercy is one of my favorite moments in Hitchcock cinema, despite the film being lackluster in its entirety.

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