– Summary – Director : Alfred Hitchcock Year Of Release : 1930 Principal Cast : Herbert Marshall, Norah Baring, Phyllis Konstam, Edward Chapman, Miles Mander, […]
– Summary – Director : Alfred Hitchcock Year Of Release : 1930 Principal Cast : Barrie Fitzgerald, Marie O’Neill, Edward Chapman, Sidney Morgan, Sara […]
– Summary – Director : Alfred Hitchcock Year Of Release : 1929 Principal Cast : Carl Brisson, Malcolm Keen, Anny Ondra, Randle Ayrton, Clare Greet, […]
– Summary – Director : Alfred Hitchcock Year Of Release : 1928 Principal Cast : Jameson Thomas, Lillian Hall-Davis, Gordon Harker, Gibb McLaughlin, Maude Gill, […]
– Summary – Director : Alfred Hitchcock Year Of Release : 1928 Principal Cast : Isabel Jeans, Robin Irvine, Franklin Dyall, Eric Bransby Williams, Ian […]
Frothy comedy entry for Hitchcock is just a delight of a thing, a frivolous, undemanding affair that – if one was a cynic – might be considered too lite-weight for the master’s oeuvre. Personally, I found this film a real blast, if not for the characters (who are fairly pedestrian, and only really elevated by the cast’s performances) then for Hitch’s visual flair. Most definitely one of the more amusing silent films I’ve seen.
One of the earliest “talkie” films to arrive on the British market, Hitchcock’s Blackmail was filmed in both silent and sound versions – well, kinda – and became a box-office success for its time. As you’d expect, the film is rather dated by today’s standards, but even taking that into account, Blackmail is still a nice little thriller/drama that plays with the accentuated style Hitch’s early work enjoyed. Lovely camerawork, some terrific locations and set-design, mixed with decent acting and – again, considering the film’s vintage – excellent sound design, make this one a gem among Hitch’s early works. Well worth a look, especially in light of the history the film enjoys.
A critical success (but box office flop) on release, Hitchcock’s The Ring remains a resolutely middling affair that offers neither excitement or thrills, but rather a tepid, almost inane love triangle between three people who should probably know better. While the story flounders here and there, the cast do their best to elevate the material (and largely succeed), but even by Hitch’s own standards, he can’t get this one into top gear. A curiosity that should be more widely seen, The Ring is technically excellent and emotionally uneventful.
While this silent effort from Hitchcock might contain plenty of his signature motifs, the story proves rather tepid (especially compared to his then-recent hit The Lodger) and the film spends an awful amount of time doing… well, very little. From a technical perspective, Downhill remains an enchanting testament to Hitch’s burgeoning skill as a director, but as a work of drama, this one plummets to the bottom rather than roll gracefully down. For fans of Hitch only.
While the opening is fairly strong, and the promise of some minor titillation burns bright initially, The Pleasure Garden wanders into melodramatic overkill by its second half. The film clocks in at barely over an hour, but even that feels like its a drag, and although Hitchcock tries to give the film some visual style….. nothing. There’s nothing here worth noting. None of Hitch’s trademarks are present (although it must be said that the early Garden-set sequences do feel the strongest of the film, and most “Hitchcockian”) and the film feels labored by the close. Ultimately, a rather ho-hum affair.
This early Hitchcock silent film (only his second completed feature) is a rockstar opening to the great man’s oeuvre, from the superb lighting and camera placement, to the convincing and evocative performances from the relatively small cast, The Lodger sets the bar high for future films from Hitch. For a silent film from the 20’s, I was thoroughly surprised with just how good this was.