The Wrong Man Screen 5 articles

The Wrong Man

1956

The Wrong Man Poster
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    Cahiers du cinéma: Jean-Luc Godard
    June 1957 | Godard on Godard (pp. 48-55)

    Hitchcock makes us experience the taking of fingerprints – that mark of shame, once burned into the accused's flesh by an executioner with a red-hot iron – with terrible immediacy. Thumb, index, second finger inked, the policeman's face, Fonda dazed, distortion of the wrist as the fingers are pressed on the card, the shots overlapping each other because they are cut exclusively with the moment, in a rapid, frenzied montage reminiscent of Mr. Arkadin.

  • Even though Henry Fonda and Vera Miles are the stars, this somber 1957 black-and-white drama, shot in and around New York City, is the closest Alfred Hitchcock ever came to making an art film... This is a highly personal and even religious expression of Hitchcock concerning the vicissitudes of fate, predicated on his lifelong fear that anyone can be wrongly accused of a crime and placed behind bars.

  • Hitchcock places a hallucinatory emphasis on Manny’s point of view, as in grim sequences of his fingerprinting, imprisonment, and transport by paddy wagon; few films play so tightly on the contrast between unimpeachably concrete details and the vertiginous pretenses of reality. Hitchcock’s ultimate point evokes cosmic terror: innocence is merely a trick of paperwork, whereas guilt is the human condition.

  • The Wrong Man was promoted as Alfred Hitchcock’s first film based on a true story, and the director went to great lengths to secure its authenticity... The movie strives for “reality”, and much of it plays as a heightened kind of docudrama... Manny’s world of Manhattan night clubs and his Jackson Heights home shrinks to the space between his shoes on the ground of his jail cell, seen with impressive clarity on the new Warner Archive Blu-ray.

  • The scenario is based on a true event, and Hitchcock tells it with great attention to realism and verisimilitude (there is a distinction between the two, one that Hitchcock appreciated). But anyone expecting, as a result, a movie devoid of expressive cinematic style, will be pleasantly surprised: this is as fluently styled a movie as Hitchcock ever made.

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