In a neat way to get the viewer started,The Case Against Mrs Ames opens with a radio and news headlines reconstruction of Hope Ames’ story –
“Will Hope Ames Go Free?”
“Will Hope Ames Hang?”
….”The Aristocracy of San Francisco society….Perry Ames marries Hope Johnson…. Perry’s rich mother will have nothing to do with her new daughter-in-law…….Perry is found dead…..Mrs Ames is tried for murder.”
It’s the last day of the trial of Hope Ames (Madeleine Carroll). Matt Logan (George Brent) has stepped in for an ailing District Attorney. Logan is convinced Hope is guilty and he berates the jury when they find her innocent. He’s fined $500 and can’t pay it so lands up in jail.
Hope pays the fine and reckons he’s the best man to find out who really killed her husband.
Meanwhile she has to contest with the wicked mother in law (played by a Beulah Bondi you’d scarcely recognise – stiff,unforgiving and determined to get her grandson (Scotty Beckett) away from Hope.)
It turns out the late Mr Ames wasn’t the angel his mother thinks he was and Logan begins to realise he might be wrong.
The rest of the cast includes Arthur Treacher in his usual haughty butler role, and Esther Dale in her usual role of kindly maid. Alan Mowbray is a dodgy attorney and dear Ed Brophy is a bumbling photographer.
A decent enough plot ( I’m surprised it wasn’t used again) and a surprisingly energised George Brent. Madeleine Carroll is always cool and elegant ( a wonder Hitchcock only used her once).