All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. 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…
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…
#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…
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.
The Wrong Man is unlike any other Hitchcock film I have seen. From a technical standpoint, it is one of his greatest achievements. In addition to the black and white cinematography, the carefully choreographed staging/blocking, the incredible noir score by his long-time-collaborator, Bernard Herrmann, and the ridiculously brilliant, subtle performance by Henry Fonda, there is something very modern about the film that sets it apart. The performances all around are very natural and do not bring attention to themselves, which makes them so much more effective in this noir crime drama. Even the child performances are convincing. This is in my top 10 films by Hitchcock, my all-time favorite director. Go see it if you haven't.
a sort of domesticated Le Samourai
Shitty "The Night Of"
Top-notch, unforgettable. Trademark Hitchcock.
Not one of the big boys from the Hitchcock library, but there is plenty here to admire.
Hitchcock makes his customary cameo at the very beginning of the movie simply to tell us that this is a true story and he plans to tell it just as it happened. What unfolds is a storyline you see Hitchcock go to pretty frequently, someone wrongfully accused of a terrible crime, the way someone's perception of another person can become obsessive and drive them mad, the darkness that comes out of someone who didn't set out to find it.
Henry Fonda carries an innocence just enough that we feel comfortable following his perspective through most of the movie, but he also stays mysterious…
These types of stories tend to frustrate me in the way they so fully manipulate against the hero, but Hitchcock manages to ground this film in two ways: 1) a more restrained, "naturalistic" style (real locations and everything) and 2) Henry Fonda's performance.
Would be an all time classic if it didn't fall into Hitchcock's worst habit of going overboard in explaining psychology. Contextually, okay, maybe it was new analysis at the time but it both slows everything to a snail's pace when Manny's wife Rose goes down the tubes trying to cope with the stress of Manny's trial. It also feels wholly unnecessary and is generally poorly told.
Everything that came before it and separate from it is fantastic, though. Fonda is the perfect actor for this kind of role. He exudes goodness, morality, and a genuine desire to do what is right. There is a certain "aw shucks" nature to him that doesn't feel as theatrical as, say, a Jimmy Stewart.…
35mm screening at Berkeley Pacific Film Archive. Film print was in somewhat rough shape during parts of the film near the beginning.
Among the stranger Hitchcock films I've seen. A sense of dread & hopelessness permeates throughout and is exacerbated by the film's score and Hitchcock's editing. I'm still not entirely sure what JLG meant when he said, in reference to this film, that Hitchcock was the only one aside from Dreyer who managed to film a miracle.
Read Notes to see episode number.
Note: some films were reviewed twice, once at a film festival and then were…
From his book Essential Cinema.
A huge thanks to everyone who added films, helped me find films with alternate titles,…