All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1187. An easy way of seeing how…
The Wrong Man
Somewhere...somewhere there must be the right man!
True story of an innocent man mistaken for a criminal.
An innocent man has nothing to fear, remember that.
The "innocent man wrongly accused" is perhaps Alfred Hitchcock's favorite story to tell. Possibly because it was one of his greatest fears, being accused by the same authorities that can strip away your livelihood. Hitchcock would visit this theme in the 1930s with the brilliant 39 Steps and revisit it in different forms throughout his career right up to the 70s with the underrated Frenzy.
It's appropriate then that Hitchcock would pick this story to tell as one of his rare films based on true events. On the surface The Wrong Man looks like a typical film from…
#10 in the Reverse Hitchcock Project
The film has an intro from Hitch himself, shown in silhouette, saying this was a different type of thriller than the ones he had done before.
Over the credits we have jaunty dance music, and underneath we see a club band, with maracas, and Henry Fonda on the double bass – a marvellous three minute intro into which to place our man in a recognisable setting.
Then to the subway, and a deserted train (and my goodness doesn’t Jane Fonda resemble her father?), all very ordinary.
I find it interesting that Fonda, by all accounts such a cold man off the screen, can give his characters such warmth and approachability, and so it is…
Truth is stranger than fiction at times and the story of Manny Balestrero is certainly that. The retelling of the real-life saga couldn't have fallen into more fitting hands than Hitchcock's who built an entire career off the back of placing the Everyman inside the most difficult of situations.
There is certainly a different feel to what is essentially a docudrama concentrating on the low level details of Manny's life. Instead of the typical Hitchcock tropes that build in carefully delayed moments of suspense the thrills are low key to make us aware of the effects the arrest has on his life. Whether it is his wife suffering her mental breakdown or viewing the jailing process through his eyes we…
This somehow feels like an odd man out in Hitchcock's filmography. Based on real events, this feels almost like a fictionalized documentary of sorts. It is distant, methodical and dead serious. No snazzy camera angles, no pitchblack humour, just the story and what it contains.
And I loved it.
Fonda and Miles are absolutely breathtaking in this tale of mistaken identity. Their performances suck you in and once you're there they just won't let go. I was 100% invested and that is not something that happens often with films like this. Fonda's transition from desperation to cooperation to complete and utter fear is astonishing and is what makes…
Wow, Hitchcock had a great decade in the fifties. I mean he was always prolific but his creative output in those years alone is remarkably impressive. Rear Window, Strangers on a Train, Vertigo, North by North-West, he was just churning out hits like nobody's business. Now don't get me wrong, he had some gems in the forties too (Shadow of a Doubt anyone?), but I would argue that the Master of Suspense really hit his stride in this decade. However, The Wrong Man can't quite hold it's own against some of his better work, but even lesser Hitchcock is often pretty damn good.
The Wrong Man begins unusually with Alfred Hitchcock himself introducing the movie as a true story. Henry…
You know those great movie scenes where you get to watch a character do something they're really exceptional at? Like rob a bank or hit a home run or survive on Mars? Hitchcock movies are like those scenes from start to finish. The pleasure of execution done effortlessly, expertly.
For the record, Vera freaking Miles is in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Searchers, and Psycho. And this might be her best performance.
FORWARD: I watched this movie Monday afternoon and wrote the following essay between then and 11 this morning. It's very undergrad, but I'm an undergrad so fuck it. Due to the (self-imposed) time constraints under which I completed the piece, I rely more heavily on haughty posturing than usual. This writer regrets the error.
God is Dead, and Alfred Hitchcock Killed Him
There’s a shot toward the beginning of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Wrong Man that could easily be read as fatalistic: Manny Balestrero approaches an insurance teller whose window is barred like a prison cell , and as he does he pulls a piece of paper from his coat as if it were a gun. “This guy is going to…
An epic tale of suspense and loneliness. This film is Hitchcock's visualization of a childhood phobia of confinement against one's will. This is a great film that holds incredible performances by Henry Fonda & Vera Miles. It's sinister and simplistic plot is carried along by an unforgettable score from the legendary Bernard Herrmann.
A fun fact about this movie is that Martin Scorsese screened it for the cast of Taxi Driver to get them in the right mood and feel before shooting, which he has said could also be the reason why he had Bernard Herrmann do the score. Taxi Driver sadly enough ended up being Herrmann's final score because he passed away on Christmas Eve of 1975, just over a month before the film was released on February 8th, 1976.
Some really great stuff in this film. Henry Fonda is really engaging. The moments before the jurors outburst were really well observed. How the goings on in the court cannot possibly matter to anyone as much as the defendant.
Unfortunately, the decision to focus on the impact on his wife, derails the film for me. I just started to tune out. The ending was rushed and her story steals focus.
In 1958 and 1959 respectively, Hitchcock would release Vertigo and North By Northwest. The film that preceded these two lively, colourful films was The Wrong Man, a black-and-white film noir that seems incredibly restrained by comparison. It is by no means lacking in technical merit, but it feels more in line with Hitchcock's early Hollywood output from the 1940s.
It is a universal fear to be accused of a crime one did not commit, and Henry Fonda's everyman presence elicits our sympathy with ease. While Vera Miles' performance is faultless, her character seems like too much of an archetype.
In a departure for Hitchcock, this is an adaptation of a true story. Manny Balestrero (Henry Fonda) is a musician in a night club, not making much money. When his wife (Vera Miles) reveals that she needs to have her wisdom teeth removed, Manny goes to her insurance company to borrow the $300 they need for the surgery. However, unbeknownst to him, he matches the description of a man who had robbed the insurance company on two occasions months prior, as well as several other establishments. The police bring him in for questioning and become convinced Manny is their guy.
So weird to watch the police working in a pre-Miranda environment.
This would be a nightmare.
An unusually drab Hitchcock film, based on a true story about an innocent man (Henry Fonda) sent to prison. The picture has an almost Kafkaesque nightmare realism to it, but the story line wanders diffusely instead of tightening, and the developments become tedious (though the final discovery of the right man is chillingly well done). With Vera Miles, Anthony Quayle, Esther Minciotti, and Harold J. Stone. Written by Maxwell Anderson and Angus MacPhail; music by Bernard Herrmann. Warners.
Noir-vember 2016: Day 17
An innocent man is mistaken for another man. Sounds familiar ha? Yes, this is Alfred Hitchcock's favorite theme that has been constantly used in almost 53 of his movies. But what makes this picture different from the rest? Meticulous craftsmanship I think. From the Hitchcockian prologue with expressionistic shadows looming all over, to the solitary confinement, we are shown ,in minute detail, how an insignificant resemblance can collapse a family. Henry Fonda is out of this world and I'm just in love with his worried eyes. Vera Miles is hysterically fine! So What do we need to make an excellent movie? That's simple!: Meticulous craftsmanship!
List made from the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. This list just from the 2016 edition,…
Bill Georgaris of TSPDT has finally decided to start updating his film noir page. This means the old version of…