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Wrong Man, the

Henry Fonda , Vera Miles , Alfred Hitchcock    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 36.90
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Alfred Hitchcock was fond of telling the story about how his father discouraged his son from even the slightest criminal impulse by having young Alfred locked in a police holding cell for a brief period--a terrifying experience Hitchcock never forgot. Much of the fear from that childhood incident resonates through The Wrong Man, which is unique among Hitchcock's films in that it is based entirely on a factual case that occurred in New York City in January 1953. As Hitchcock states in a shadowy prologue, authenticity was his primary goal--including the use of actual names and locations from the case--and the film gains considerable power from Hitchcock's semi-documentary approach (a film noir style that was still in vogue when Hitchcock shot this film in 1957).

Henry Fonda is perfectly cast as the financially struggling nightclub musician who is mistakenly identified as a robber when he attempts to cash in his wife's life-insurance policy to pay for her much-needed dental work. Vera Miles is equally superb as the suffering wife, who ultimately cracks under the pressure of her husband's wrongful accusation and the drawn-out process of proving his innocence. Through all of this, Hitchcock pays close attention to the mundane details of police procedure, intensifying Fonda's desperation and the narrative tension that was Hitchcock's directorial trademark. As it happens, the strict adherence to factual detail--no matter how absurd or incredible--also renders The Wrong Man somewhat weaker than Hitchcock's classic plots, since in this case truth is decidedly stranger than fiction. Nevertheless, this is still a riveting film that fits quite nicely alongside Hitchcock's better-known films of the 1950s. (Interesting trivia: Miles--who would later appear in Psycho, was Hitchcock's first choice for the Kim Novak role in Vertigo, and Hitchcock was vocally annoyed when Miles's pregnancy prevented her from taking the role that could have made her a star.) --Jeff Shannon

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ever Wanted to Wake Up from a Bad Dream? July 10 2004
By A Customer
The plot of this film was a recurring nightmare that Alfred Hitchcock apparently tried to get out of his system with a starkly documentary type of movie that didn't go down too well with audiences. It's a tedious reworking of a case of mistaken iedntity in a robbery prosecution in New York City, entirely devoid of any of the glamour or wit that Hitchcock usually used to mask his obsessions. "The Wrong Man" might have been the subtitle of several of Hitchcock's films, and he laid his worst fears on the line with this one. Henry Fonda, the hapless musician victim, is reduced to praying for miracle to get out the trap, and one turns up, an echo of Hitchcock's Catholic upbringing. In the context of Hitchcock's other work it's an interesting couple of hours, but only in that context.
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4.0 out of 5 stars WRONG MAN RIGHT FILM!! June 9 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Alfred Hitchcock again shows his mastery of the art of film making. "The Wrong Man" is done in a true documentary style..and Henry Fonda is so perfect he is scary.
With Fonda's superb low key style you will find he isnt acting at all.. he IS Manny Balestrero !. Fonda's inner rage is completely under control..and one wonders if it will ever explode..this fact sets up the tense drama to a breaking point.
The emotional breaking point is visited on his wife played by Vera Miles. The films plot has overtones of another film called " Call Northside 777" with the Police on one side and the rest of the characters on the other.
One of a kind film experience !
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great thriller! Dec 10 2002
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
"The Wrong Man" is wonderful, it deserves five stars. The movie stars Henry Fonda and Vera Miles. They are both great actors. This film is actually true. It is a thriller but it is also a drama. An excellent Hitchcock film. Go see it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of Hitchcock's Greatest Films! Nov. 15 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Just rented it and had to watch it three times. An amazing film! Where's the DVD version! This simple grim tale a man wrongly imprisoned for robbery and the heart-breaking subsequent mental breakdown of his wife will haunt you. I would argue that this film demonstrates Hitchcock's films in its purest form. No bird attacks or shriveled corpses here but then some of us who love Hitchcock's works believe they are really in the end about people and how they survive, or come to be trapped by, dire circumstances. Watch this movie along with "Vertigo," "Psycho," "The Birds," and "Marnie." Like "Psycho" and "The Birds," we see both physical and psychological imprisonment of the characters (or being caught in a kind of trap might be the relevant metaphor here) and like "Vertigo" and "Marnie," we see the overwhelming power of mental disturbance have on one's ability to control one's own life. I have found that it always helps to compare Hitchcock's films with each other as certain themes seem to occur over and over again, almost as if Hitchcock had some compusive fixation on it.
I would consider this film a great tragedy.
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