Alice White is the daughter of a shopkeeper in 1920's London. Her boyfriend, Frank Webber is a Scotland Yard detective who seems more interested in police work than in her. Frank takes ... See full summary »
A man in London tries to help a counterespionage agent. But when the agent is killed and the man stands accused, he must go on the run to both save himself and also stop a spy ring which is trying to steal top secret information.
Alice White is the daughter of a shopkeeper in 1920's London. Her boyfriend, Frank Webber is a Scotland Yard detective who seems more interested in police work than in her. Frank takes Alice out one night, but she has secretly arranged to meet another man. Later that night Alice agrees to go back to his flat to see his studio. The man has other ideas and as he tries to rape Alice, she defends herself and kills him with a bread knife. When the body is discovered, Frank is assigned to the case, he quickly determines that Alice is the killer, but so has someone else and blackmail is threatened. Written by
Col Needham <email@example.com>
Generally acknowledged as the first British talkie, and definitely the first sound-on-film British talkie. The Clue of the New Pin (1929), was released in March 1929 in the British Phototone system, a sound-on-disc system using 12-inch phonograph records synchronized with the film. See more »
Alice grasps the knife in a normal cutting position, with her thumb at the front of the handle. But her grip is different as she takes it behind the curtain: the knife is now held below her fist, with her thumb at the back of the handle, in a stabbing position. See more »
Hitchcock artfully enters the era of talking pictures
This film may .not hold up among Hitchcock's great films from his golden years of 1948 through 1963, but compare it to any other talking picture from 1929 and then tell me what you think.
The fact is, this film is shot part silent. Yes there is sound, but there is no synchronized dialogue until about ten minutes into the film when the police detective and his girlfriend who are the central characters speak to one another. Shooting the film primarily silent with synchronized effects and leaving the talking sequences for segments of the film where dialogue was necessary and then having the judgment to know how much dialogue was enough and stop at that point was something Hitchcock got from the beginning. Watch some of the long-winded speeches from some other 1929 films and realize that many of Hitchcock's contemporaries struggled with this skill.
The story is a good one. Alice is feeling neglected by her police detective boyfriend, and follows a handsome artist up to his flat. After some flirting the artist turns suddenly violent and assaults her. She defends herself by grabbing a knife and stabbing the man. Stunned and sure she has not been seen by anyone entering the man's flat, she attempts to erase all signs of her presence there and returns home. She mentions the incident to no one, but is weighted down with guilt.
Frank, Alice's boyfriend, investigates the crime scene and sees Alice's glove. He confiscates it. Unfortunately, someone else who is not Alice has the other glove. The lovers don't discuss anything but the threat of the blackmailer until the end of the film. Like many of Hitchcock's later works, much of his art is in furtive glances and in objects that recall the crime rather than specific dialogue. An example of this is a jester in the artist's painting that Alice sees as pointing at her and thus accusing her. The jester meets Alice's eye both immediately after the crime and at the end of the film.
Highly recommended as one of the best talking pictures of 1929, but I am yet to find a satisfactory copy on DVD anywhere.
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