Patsy Brand is a chorus girl at the Pleasure Garden music hall. She meets Jill Cheyne who is down on her luck and gets her a job as a dancer. Jill is engaged to adventurer Hugh Fielding and... See full summary »
Hitchcock's Touches Give Life to a Conventional Story
It's basically just a love-triangle story, but Hitchcock's storytelling skills and mastery of silent film techniques make "The Ring" well worth watching. There is a lot of visual detail and symbolism that add meaning to a basically routine story about small-time boxer Jack, his girl, and the champion who gives Jack his big break but who also tries to steal his girl.
The opening sequence establishes the triangle amidst the colorful atmosphere of a traveling show, where Jack takes on all comers inside a tent. It is filled with a lot of detail, especially the bracelet that Bob, the champion, gives to Jack's girl, which is important as a plot element and as a symbol. (This "ring" is one of several meanings of the film's nicely-chosen title.) Most of the plot that follows is predictable, as it is clear from the beginning that someday Bob and Jack will have to square off in the ring with more than Bob's title at stake. But if the story is routine, Hitchcock's technique is not. There are a lot of creative touches that develop the characters and story, and that add humor and interest. The cast is pretty good, and some of the secondary characters from the traveling show are very funny in the earlier scenes.
This is certainly an old-fashioned movie, and won't be of general interest today, but it's a nice little film. Anyone who likes silent films or who wants to see something quite different from the "Master of Suspense" should find this worth a look.
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