14 January 2012

THE WRONG MAN (Dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1956, US)

If any film maker wants to understand the power of the point of view shot then Hitchcock's The Wrong Man is perhaps one of the definitive statements. Musician Manny Balestrero (Henry Fonda) is mistakenly identified for a man who has been committing robberies in the local neighbourhood. The police and society are convinced that Manny is the man responsible for the crime. He is arrested, imprisoned and put on trial. He does eventually go free but Hitchcock chooses to document his ordeal through a subjective approach, completing fetishising the point of view shot so that we literally become Manny. It may sound odd saying this but this may be Hitchcock's most 'real' American film. The real is manifested in the documentary style as it also observes Fonda, studying his mannerisms and cataloguing his suffering. As for the tacked on ending in which closure is conveyed, one can detect studio interference and mainstream compromise conflicting with more genuine genre expression.

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