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The Paradine Case - Hitchcock's Lost Film?

Robert Harris

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#1 of 4 sonySunu

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Posted July 29 2008 - 01:06 PM

Hi Everyone,
The Paradine Case is considered as Hitchcock's lost film. Selznick's editing destroyed many of Hitchcockian scenes. Many of the scenes had "long take technique shots."

Here is an example.

According to Book "Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light", Hitchcock's favorite effect, he told Charles Higham, had been planned since the inception of The Paradine Case. Keane and Sir Simon Flaquer walk toward the camera as they enter Lincoln's Inn, part of venerable fourteenth-century London law complex. The two are seen entering the building, closing the door, walking up the stairs, turning the corner, heading along a landing into an office, and then continuing into the office, all without a single cut. It was one of Hitchcock's signature composites, using background projection and a treadmill, elaborately planned and prepared in advance by his second unit in London. Opposed to the long take, and oblivious of the significance of Lincoln's Inn, Selznick deleted the shot.

Hitchcock's original rough cut ran close to 3 hours. Selznick did post production editing. And this really ruined the film. There was a brilliant museum scene where Ethel Barrymore (Lady Horfield) requests Gregory Peck (Anthony Keane) to save Mrs. Paradine. Many of the Scenes of the film was replaced with Selznick's horrible retakes. Many of the courtroom scenes were removed. It is believed that Hitchcock used huge amount of eye contact connections in the scenes he directed.

The Paradine Case is a major study on Mother/Whore Syndrome. Only few people notice the importance of the film. There was another Courtroom case in Hitchcock's rough cut. But Selznick deleted those Courtroom scenes.

I hope Robert Harris knows about this. Its a great film. But it would have been better if Hitchcock's shots were used in the film. I think these missing scenes of The Paradine Case are at George Eastman House. But I am not sure.

#2 of 4 Robert Harris

Robert Harris

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Posted July 30 2008 - 07:48 AM

Hardly a lost film.

Like many other Selznick productions inclusive of Notorious, Paradine had multiple versions, inclusive of a shorter cut at 116 minutes.

I don't believe that anything is hiding at GEH. Originally the Selznick prints were stored, along with the rest of his materials, at Univ. of Texas, Austin.

There was a "long version" print on the inventories, which was apparently destroyed by water damage sometime in the 1980s.

There is a picture only element of the longer version at MOMA (originally part of the ABC holdings - pre-Disney) and there is apparently protection on this element.

The museum scene you mention is in this element.

You might contact Austin and pay them a visit. The papers to examine would be cutting continuities.

RAH

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#3 of 4 sonySunu

sonySunu

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Posted July 30 2008 - 12:11 PM

Dear Mr. Harris,
I believe Hitchcock Historian Bill Krohn called The Paradine Case "A Lost Hitchcock." And he wrote a huge article about the missing scenes in the film. He mentions many of Hitchcockian scenes trimmed by Selznick. Selznick originally released The Paradine Case in 131 minutes for first preview. I even have the review of 131 minutes version. In this version, Ethel Barrymore can be seen as a half-crazed wife of Lord Horfield. Critics praised this version. This is one of the reasons why Ethel Barrymore got an Oscar nomination for her performance. But Selznick trimmed the film again into 114 minutes for the final release. In this 114 minutes version, Selznick removed those scenes. Selznick did the editing decisions for the film. Not Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock Historian Bill Krohn knows more about it.

I contacted University of Texas in Austin about The Paradine Case long time ago. They told me that they send scenes to George Eastman House. I don't know where George Eastman House is.

#4 of 4 Robert Harris

Robert Harris

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Posted July 30 2008 - 12:53 PM

My suggestion would be to arrange a dinner with Bill Krohn during which the two of you can plan your trip to GEH, which is in Rochester, NY.

GEH is a great organization, and I'm certain that you'd be welcome as researchers.

If you are passionate about the subject, which I am not, there is nothing stopping you from moving forward.

Best of luck,

RAH

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence