Most of the Hollywood films I’ve watched over the past few years have been suspense films. And, oddly enough, a disproportionate number of those have ended up following a similar pattern. A wealthy woman falls head over heels in love with a very attractive man and marries him. They’re blissfully happy—and then, the shattering truth emerges: he wants to kill her. In several of these films (Midnight Lace, Sudden Fear,Love From a Stranger), the man’s motive for wanting to kill his wife (and to marry her, in the first place) is to get at her money.
Not so in Julie, where Louis Jourdan’s character, playing the evil husband, is out to kill his wife for a very different reason.
This is one of the few Hitchcock films I didn’t see in my younger years. And, considering that Hitchcock is one of my favourite directors, and Gregory Peck one of my favourite actors, that is odd indeed. Perhaps I should put it down to the fact that The Paradine Case is not one of Hitch’s best-known works; in fact, he more or less washed his hands off it. And Peck, too, seems to have not really liked it.
What with having watched the Fearless Nadia-starrer Baghdad ka Jaadoo (‘Magic of Baghdad’) the other day, I was in the mood for more swashbuckling ladies. This film, starring Jean Peters as a pirate, seemed—at first glance—to fit the bill. It turned, or so it appeared, well-loved pirate film clichés on their heads: the pirate is a woman, and a heartless one at that, who delights in making innocent people walk the plank. And no, she isn’t a female Robin Hood, actually on the side of justice. She even—in a neat twist of the usual pirate film—captures a handsome man.