Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 1956. Warner Bros.. Story by Maxwell Anderson, Screenplay by Maxwell Anderson, Angus MacPhail. Cinematography by Robert Burks. Produced by Alfred Hitchcock. Music by Bernard Herrmann. Production Design by Paul Sylbert. Film Editing by George Tomasini.
Excellent drama by Alfred Hitchcock that is notable for being the first film he ever made that was based on a true story. This little change of pace also inspired him to make a far less flashy nail biter than usual, one that has an almost documentary feel to it with stark photography and natural acting that presage Psycho. Henry Fonda plays a nightclub musician who is identified by a woman at his insurance company’s office as being the same man who robbed her at gunpoint some nights before. He is taken into police custody and fingered by a few more people as the culprit in a recent string of holdups, but he is completely innocent and has no idea why everyone seems to think otherwise. Meanwhile, his loving wife (Vera Miles, who does a marvelous job) is slowly driven mad by her inability to help him and the hopeless situation that they find themselves in. Hitchcock is so big a meany he even insisted that evidence from the real case that helped prove the hero’s innocence be omitted in the hopes of increasing the audience’s tension throughout the film.