All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1154. 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…
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…
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…
The most terrifying and consequently least enjoyable Hitchcock movie I've seen. It's based on the true story of an innocent man arrested for armed robbery.
I've often heard the famous story that Alfred Hitchcock was once sent by his father to the local police headquarters and put in jail for a while to learn a lesson. Supposedly this fuelled Hitchcock's mistrust of authority for the rest of his life. In The Wrong Man he basically films this fear and I totally understand it now. Henry Fonda's Manny is put in a cell without being able to tell his wife where he is, accused of a crime by witnesses willing to swear that he's guilty and with no way of proving his innocence. All because there's another guy out there who looks like him, like I said, terrifying.
Henry Fonda and Vera Miles are great but even though it ends the way you expect The Wrong Man is a melancholy watch.
SOME SPOILERS IN THIS
If The Wrong Man had been directed by just about anyone other than Alfred Hitchcock, a man with several unquestionable classics under his belt and a number of other fine films, not to mention the films he would go on and direct after this, would it have gotten the level of attention that I believe it obviously deserves after this, my first viewing of it?
In some ways, it pays the price for you (if you are like me) presuming that it will be yet another of Hitchcock's trademark 'innocent man on the run' films. In itself, that is an interesting point. After all,…
If anybody can pinpoint an uncredited Harry Dean Stanton's debut film role in this solid Hitchcock thriller, I'd be grateful.
The sense of paranoia and outrage is palpable here, but The Wrong Man is never as thrilling as it promises to be. Fonda is impeccable as our everyman, and Vera Miles does some incredibly understated work, but the film's final act drags just a bit too much when it should be picking up steam.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Alfred Hitchcock has made so many great films and I've seen a whole bunch of them. If I were to rank all of those I've seen from best to worst, this film would be somewhere in the middle but on the standards of Hitchcock being in the middle is still pretty damn good. Based on a true story, this film is about an innocent man arrested for crimes he did not commit, as a case of mistaken identity. The best parts are mostly in the first act where he goes through the process of being arrested. Hitchcock REALLY makes you feel you are in there with him, feeling helpless and almost panicked. It was actually kind of scary. Henry Fonda helps by giving his signature everyman performance. He really makes you feel for him. The second half of the film is not as good as the first half. Not Hitchcock's best but still, it's an exemplary work.
Some great camerawork, not-so-great pacing
Hitchcock does Bresson.
THE WRONG MAN is very much unlike other Hitchcock's "wrongfully accused men" movies in a way that the tone is more serious and grounded in reality. It doesn't necessary mean it's better or worse than, let's say, 36 STEPS, but it was certainly refreshing to see a movie like this from him. Henry Fonda and Vera Miles are perfect.
The lack of dramatic tension is almost unnerving here. The procedural aspects of Balestrero's incarceration were most interesting to me. But Hitchcock doesn't stay long with enough with them. Instead, a large portion of the story centers around Rose's mental breakdown, Rose and Manny's attempt to gather eyewitnesses, and the trial itself - all of which I found convoluted, and not particularly compelling. Fonda has a Bressonian face - it's uncanny how much he resembles Michel from Pickpocket - but at a certain point, I wanted him to lose his shit in order to jolt the film. It didn't happen.
In which Henry Fonda has, apparently, never seen even a single episode of Law & Order. The muted Hitichisms employed to convey Fonda's sense of powerlessness throughout are effective, as is Bernard Hermmann's equally restrained and melancholy score, but the Vera-Miles-cracks-up angle is a weak spot and the courtroom scenes fizzle when they should pop. It's rare that a movie should be longer but this one could've done with another half hour - thematically it's strong, real strong, but, for a film so hung up on its basis in fact, the procedural details are given puzzlingly short shrift. And seriously, always ask for a lawyer immediately. I wouldn't give a pig the time of day without my attorney in the room.
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