Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Wrong Man (1956)

I'm watching all the Hitchcock films I've never seen before, which means I'm essentially watching lesser Hitchcock. What's notable is that, in his least successful films, he is never short of a masterful filmmaker. His shot selection, his composition, the look of all his films, astounds me. This is the case with The Wrong Man, which is essentially an experiment in naturalism, with Hitchcock filming a real-life story of mistaken identity and making it almost like a pseudo-documentary. And he nails it. It's a gritty, sad little drama that feels completely real. Henry Fonda and Vera Miles are both great, and it has a beautiful understated score by Bernard Herrmann that reminded me of the more blown-up piece of music he wrote for Taxi Driver. The problem with the movie is that it's not very exciting; its realness starts to wear on you. Give me Roger Thornhill over Manny Ballestero any day. That's why I go to the movies. This might be Hitchcock's most realistic movie but it's far from his best.

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