This week’s film is The Wrong Man and sees Hitchcock tackling a true story for the first time. 

WHAT HAPPENED?

Manny Balestero (Henry Fonda) is a happily married man who goes to the bank to take out a loan and suddenly finds himself in prison for robbery. Although he had done nothing wrong witnesses constantly identify him as a criminal. Manny with the support of his family must somehow figure out a way to clear his name.

THE GOOD

The film begins with a narrated prologue by Hitchcock himself, which sets the tone for the film beautifully and makes it clear that the story is a true one. This instantly makes the audience interested into what is going to happen and why Henry Fonda is the Wrong Man.

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As the film builds the tension becomes fantastic especially when Manny is first recognised as being a ‘criminal’ and the consequences that follow including his arrest. There are many cool shots within this film that are rarely used in cinema, making it nice to see that even at this point in his career Hitch wasn’t afraid to experiment; for example there is a shot in which the camera spins around Henry Fonda’s face with increasing speed, or a fade from one face into another towards the end of the film.

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THE BAD

Being based on a true story (and apparently factually correct) there are many problems with the narrative seeming far too convenient; for example the fact that the only two witnesses had died seemed suspicious but was glossed over.

The ending was also a disappointment as the tension built up to such great extent that what actually happened was too realistic, boring and predictable.

CAMEO O’CLOCK

Hitch makes his cameo in the aforementioned opening prologue, it is the only time which the director speaks in one of his films.

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FINAL THOUGHTS?

The Wrong Man is an interesting story, albeit not a flamboyant one. The ending could have been a little better exaggerated however I suppose realism is what was being aimed for. Enjoyable with a few very good moments. 4 Hitchs

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