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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 »
A common motif in Alfred Hitchcock's movies is the guilty woman: "Blackmail", "Psycho" and "The Birds" are all prime examples. In "Blackmail", Alice White (Anny Ondra) goes home with an artist one night and he tries to rape her. She murders him, and from then on everything reminds her of it. The jester painting appears to be looking at her (or she at it?), a billboard looks like a knife, and a woman keeps uttering the word knife. But in the end, everything blows up in Alice's face.
Hitch was certainly showing his chops here. The camera angles, scenery, and other such things all combined to make what we would expect in a Hitchcock movie. I try to imagine being a moviegoer in 1929 watching "Blackmail" for the first time, wondering what Hitchcock's subsequent work would be like.
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