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(Review originally written at 23 July 2010)

You could say that this movie is being quite different from Hitchcock's usual work. The movie is less suspense and more drama. It tries to tell a real story, in a very serious way. The story and premise is still being typical Hitchcock like but it is its execution that makes this a different movie.

I can't really say that everything in this movie worked out too well but what the movie still did well was keeping things interesting, by not being ever formulaic. Of course Hitchcock movies always have been something special and original, no matter what genre they were being part of.

It actually has a very simple premise of a man being wrongfully accused of crimes he did not commit. All of the evidence and witnesses however point toward him. It's not a great conspiracy movie or thriller, it's simply being about an average man being put suddenly in some not so average and situations. It's a great simple concept that works out well.

Not all of the drama works out to well though. In my opinion they should had really left out the subplot with the wife, that slowly is turning crazy due to the sudden, unpleasant circumstances. It did not really worked out very convincing and distracted from the story. This is also due to the fact Vera Miles wasn't really being good or believable enough in her role. But apparently this is also what happened in real life, so they had to put it in the story. Yes, apparently this all really happened, as does Hitchcock himself also explains at the beginning of the movie, with his narration.

It's also an all the more interesting movie to watch in todays light. This movie shows how the justice system worked back in the '50's and how things have changed significantly over the years, all for the best by the way, as becomes apparent in this movie. The movie can also really been seen as a social commentary on how the law enforcement worked and how things got investigated, in what seems by todays standards some very amateur like and simplistic manners. It also shows how easily people's opinions can be influenced by others. The one persons say she recognize the man as the perpetrator and everyone else nod their head and go along with it, pointing him out as the man who committed all the crimes.

It's a nice movie role from Henry Fonda, who shows his wide range as an actor in this movie, though it's also hardly his best or most memorable performance. It's more the type of performance in which the subtle little things in this movie make it apparent what a great actor Henry Fonda was and how well he was acting in this movie actually. I also really liked Anthony Quayle in this, who is much better known for his later movie roles, from the '60's, despite that he had already starred in some big productions, prior to this movie.

Perhaps not great by Hitchcock's usual high standards. I can definitely see some Hitchcock fans being disappointed with this movie but by any other 'normal' standards this is still a great and also original movie.

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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