The Paradine Case | 1947
Although Alfred Hitchcock’s courtroom melodrama, his last picture for David O Selznick, was made at the RKO Studio in Hollywood, it’s set in the UK, where location shots were captured by a Second Unit.
Back in the innocent days of 1947, the response to being arrested on suspicion of murder was not “You effin’ slag, I wanna see my brief” but “I may not be home tonight. Please tell cook I’m sorry about supper”. Thus the elegant Mrs Paradine (Alida Valli) is led graciously from her palatial home at 33 Wilton Crescent in swanky Belgravia, central London, at the opening of the film.
The exterior of the Central Criminal Court, the Old Bailey, EC4, where Mrs Paradine is tried for murder, is real, still showing the extensive bomb damage sustained during the Blitz, but the famous courtroom interior was meticulously reproduced in the Hollywood studio.
Similarly, Bow Street Police Station and London’s old Holloway women’s prison were recreated from detailed photographs.
The house of defence lawyer Anthony Keane (Gregory Peck) is 60 Portland Place at Weymouth Street, W1 – only a few doors away from the home of embittered playwright Van Johnson in Henry Hathaway’s Hitchcockian thriller 23 Paces To Baker Street, at number 74.
‘Hindley Hall’, the Paradine estate, is a mock-Elizabethan manor house built in 1891, now the Langdale Chase Hotel, on the A591 between Brockhole and Ambleside on the north shore of Lake Windermere, in Cumbria’s beautiful Lake District.