The Wrong Man

Even though Henry Fonda and Vera Miles are the stars, this somber 1957 black-and-white drama, shot in and around New York City, is the closest Alfred Hitchcock ever came to making an art film. It’s based on the true story of a bass player working at the Stork Club who was falsely arrested for holding up a liquor store because of his physical resemblance to the guilty party, which led to a series of grim mishaps that culminated in his wife going insane. This is a highly personal and even religious expression of Hitchcock concerning the vicissitudes of fate, predicated on his lifelong fear that anyone can be wrongly accused of a crime and placed behind bars. The result, as Hitchcock himself warns in a prologue, isn’t a Hitchcock picture in the usual sense, but it’s still one of his most potent and memorable works from the 50s, his richest period. With Anthony Quayle, Harold J. Stone, and Nehemiah Persoff. 105 min. (JR)

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