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Alfred Hitchcock: The Shape of Suspense

Friday, April 5, 2013
7:00 p.m. The Wrong Man
Alfred Hitchcock (U.S., 1956)

Student Pick!
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Hitchcock’s fears of incarceration, the police, and the malicious workings of fate seem to have infected cinematographer Robert Burks as well. Drawing on a true story, Hitchcock adopts the semidocumentary fashion of film noir to spin off the frightening possibilities when an innocent man is named as the guilty party in a holdup, and the weight of circumstantial evidence builds inexorably against him. Henry Fonda is the New York jazz player Manny, who works nights at the Stork Club but still can’t make ends meet for his wife Rose (Vera Miles) and kids. Bars and shadows are everywhere in Manny’s life, and in Rose’s—in the jail, of course; in the home (of course)—so when the final transference of guilt takes place, it should come as no surprise. Still, it does, and probably will no matter how many times we see this incisive and desolate film.

—Judy Bloch

• Written by Maxwell Anderson, Angus MacPhail, based on The True Story of Christopher Emmanuel Balestrero by Anderson. Photographed by Robert Burks. With Henry Fonda, Vera Miles, Anthony Quayle, Harold Stone. (105 mins, B&W, 35mm, From Warner Bros.)