Monday, August 7, 2017

Movies Every Day 7: The Wrong Man (1956)

"An innocent man has nothing to fear, remember that."

Why I'm Watching

  • This is one of a few Hitchcock pictures I've not yet seen and am especially interested in it since it's a true story.

The Gist

Manny is mistakenly identified by clerks at an insurance office as a man responsible for an armed robbery there, and finds it difficult to prove his innocence. He is subsequently forced to endure the nightmare of being arrested, incarcerated, and sent to trial, the stress of which causes unintended consequences for his family.

Things I Like

  • Great use of shadows. 
  • Great build up of tension, enhanced by the music.
  • The idea of being wrongly charged with a crime is truly horrifying.

Things I Don't Like

  • I can never find anything I don't like about Hitchcock. 

Interesting Moments

  • Cops happen to be walking by but appear to be following Manny as he leaves the club. Sirens can be heard as he's walking home. 
  • When Manny is waiting at the insurance company, he appears to be behind bars.
  • The cops hold Manny without charging him or allowing him a phone call and then drive him around to various stores that have been hit and ask him to walk up and down the store aisle so the victims can identify him. Lesson learned. Know your rights, and say nothing without your lawyer present. That's what Perry Mason taught me.
  • Inside his cell, Manny clenches his fists and the camera swirls around his head as the music grows even more frantic. 
  • In the paddy wagon on his way to jail, Manny focuses on the handcuffs on his wrist and the shoes of all the other prisoners, while nobody speaks. 

Notable Quotes

Hitchcock's prologue: This is Alfred Hitchcock speaking. In the past, I have given you many kinds of suspense pictures. But this time, I would like you to see a different one. The difference lies in the fact that this is a true story, every word of it. And yet it contains elements that are stranger than all the fiction that has gone into many of the thrillers that I've made before.

Rose: Oh, I didn't know you liked horses.
Manny: It's the arithmetic I like, honey. I guess it's the musician in me. You know, musicians are always fascinated by mathematics. They can't read, but they can figure.

Manny (to Rose): In my experience, I always pay for what I get.

Manny: I'm completely innocent.
Lt. Bowers: Well, we can't take anybody's word for that, you know. We have to clear you before we can send you home.
Manny: How do you clear me?
Lt. Bowers: Well, it's purely a routine matter. But I'll tell you something. It's nothing for an innocent man to worry about. It's the fella that's done something wrong that has to worry.

Lt. Bowers: If you haven't done anything you have nothing to fear.

Lt. Bowers: An innocent man has nothing to fear, remember that.

Manny: Mother tell you what happened to me?
Bob: No, she didn't.
Manny: I got arrested for something I didn't do.
Bob: You don't have to tell me. I heard what they said on the phone. Dad, you're the best dad in the world.
Manny: I do the best I can, Bob. Thanks for telling me.
Bob: You're the best.
Manny: Hope you never have to go through anything like I did. If you ever do, I hope you've got a son just like mine to come back to. I never knew what my boys meant to me till right now.

Manny: I can't believe that Rose...I can't let her go.
Dr. Bannay: She's living in another world from ours, a frightening landscape that could be on the dark side of the moon.
Manny: And I'm not there?
Dr. Bannay: You're there, and the children are there, but not the way you are. Monstrous shadows that say hateful things. Now, she knows she's in a nightmare, but it doesn't help her to know. She can't get out.

Memorable Moments

Love It or Leave It

Love it for making me feel a range of negative emotions before ending with a positive outcome. This was an intense movie that had me empathizing with Manny as events spiral out of his control. It's a touching moment when he has to tell his son he was arrested for something he didn't do, and the little boy tells him he's the best dad. When he finally gets a break, it's bittersweet, since he's not able to share it with Rose. Eventually, there is somewhat of a happy ending to the story, and it's one of those times I'm glad for that. It's a powerful film that leads one to consider how many other people have had the same experience of being wrongly convicted, perhaps without ever being vindicated. Hitchcock did a fine job of keeping it real and not embellishing for melodrama's sake.

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