IMDb > Blackmail (1929)
Blackmail
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Blackmail (1929) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
7.1/10   6,207 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Charles Bennett (from the play by)
Alfred Hitchcock (adapted by)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Blackmail on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
6 October 1929 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
See and Hear It - Our Mother Tongue As It Should Be Spoken
Plot:
Alice White is the daughter of a shopkeeper in 1920's London. Her boyfriend, Frank Webber is a Scotland... See more » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
NewsDesk:
(62 articles)
Video of the Day: See Every Alfred Hitchcock Cameo
 (From SoundOnSight. 21 August 2014, 10:01 AM, PDT)

Odessa honours Frears
 (From ScreenDaily. 14 July 2014, 2:03 AM, PDT)

Berlinale and Cannes winners competing in Odessa
 (From ScreenDaily. 11 June 2014, 5:28 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Creative, Subtle, & Suspenseful See more (75 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Anny Ondra ... Alice White

Sara Allgood ... Mrs. White
Charles Paton ... Mr. White
John Longden ... Detective Frank Webber
Donald Calthrop ... Tracy
Cyril Ritchard ... The Artist
Hannah Jones ... The Landlady
Harvey Braban ... The Chief Inspector (sound version)
Ex-Det. Sergt. Bishop ... The Detective Sergeant (as Ex-Det. Sergt. Bishop - Late C.I.D. Scotland Yard)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Johnny Ashby ... Boy (uncredited)

Joan Barry ... Alice White (voice) (uncredited)
Johnny Butt ... Sergeant (uncredited)

Alfred Hitchcock ... Man on Subway (uncredited)
Phyllis Konstam ... Gossiping Neighbour (uncredited)
Sam Livesey ... The Chief Inspector (silent version) (uncredited)
Phyllis Monkman ... Gossip Woman (uncredited)
Percy Parsons ... Crook (uncredited)

Directed by
Alfred Hitchcock 
 
Writing credits
Charles Bennett (from the play by)

Alfred Hitchcock (adapted by)

Benn W. Levy (dialogue) (as Benn Levy)

Michael Powell  uncredited

Produced by
John Maxwell .... producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Jimmy Campbell (musical score by) (as Campbell)
Reginald Connelly (musical score by) (as Connelly)
Hubert Bath (uncredited)
 
Cinematography by
Jack E. Cox (photography) (as Jack Cox)
 
Film Editing by
Emile de Ruelle (film editor)
 
Art Direction by
C. Wilfred Arnold  (as W.C. Arnold)
Norman G. Arnold (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Frank Mills .... assistant director
 
Sound Department
Dallas Bower .... sound recordist (uncredited)
Harold V. King .... sound (uncredited)
Harry Miller .... sound editor (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Ronald Neame .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Michael Powell .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Derick Williams .... assistant camera (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Hubert Bath .... musical score arranged by
Hubert Bath .... musical score compiled by
John Reynders .... conductor: British International Symphony Orchestra
Harry Stafford .... musical score arranged by
Harry Stafford .... musical score compiled by
 
Other crew
Joan Barry .... dubbing voice: Anny Ondra (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
85 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.20 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (R.C.A. Photophone System)
Certification:
Argentina:13 | Australia:PG | Brazil:12 | Canada:PG (Ontario) | Finland:K-12 (1995) | Finland:K-16 (1931) | Germany:12 | Iceland:L | Spain:T | Sweden:15 (DVD rating) | UK:A (original rating) | UK:PG (video rating) (1989)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Much of the film was originally shot silent; when sound became available during the course of shooting, director Alfred Hitchcock re-shot certain scenes with sound, thus making it the Master of Suspense's first talkie. There was one complication with this change, however. Leading lady Anny Ondra had a thick German accent which was inappropriate to her character, Alice White. Joan Barry was chosen to provide a different voice for her, but post-production dubbing technology did not exist then. The solution was for Barry to stand just out of shot and read Alice's lines into a microphone as Ondry mouthed them in front of the camera. This is generally acknowledged as the first instance of one actor's voice being dubbed by another, even though the word "dub" is technologically inappropriate in this case.See more »
Goofs:
Revealing mistakes: When Alice "unlocks" the door to the building where she lives, it starts to open as soon as the key reaches the door. It was clearly not only not locked, but not even latched. However, she goes through with the motion of unlocking it.See more »
Quotes:
[first lines]
Det. Frank Webber:Well, we finished earlier tonight than I expected.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
The Best Things in Life Are FreeSee more »

FAQ

Are the first eight minutes supposed to be silent?
Why are the picture and sound so bad?
Is this film really in the U.S. public domain?
See more »
42 out of 45 people found the following review useful.
Creative, Subtle, & Suspenseful, 1 June 2001
Author: Snow Leopard from Ohio

While remembered as the first sound picture made by Alfred Hitchcock (or anyone else in Britain), there is much more to "Blackmail" than merely historical interest. It reveals the director's subtle creativity, with a carefully structured story that also produces some real suspense, with one of Hitchcock's best cameos and an entertaining chase sequence as bonuses. The movie has a unique feel, as Hitchcock was still using many silent film techniques at the same time that he was experimenting with sound. Not all of this works perfectly, but it does not detract from the film's many positive features.

Alice White (Anny Ondra, voice dubbed by Joan Barry) goes out for the evening with her boyfriend, who is a police detective (John Longden). When they have a series of minor quarrels, Alice decides to go her own way, and meets an artist friend. The artist's intentions are obvious, but Alice is innocently unaware. When he brings her to his studio, there is soon an unpleasant confrontation that sets in motion a turbulent series of events.

The story is carefully constructed not just to produce suspense but also to raise interesting questions in the viewer's mind. Alice feels a terrible sense of guilt and fear over what has happened - communicated to the viewer in a variety of creative ways - but of what is she really guilty? The behavior of the detective boyfriend is partly well-intentioned, but he certainly is not faultless. The moral ambiguity is often subtle, because it takes a back seat to the suspense, and it takes a couple of viewings to appreciate all that is going on.

There is a particularly nice symmetry to the beginning and ending, pointing to the greater significance of the action in between. The opening sequence (filmed in silent movie style) shows the detective and his partner dealing with a suspect in a routine way, not caring about him as a person. In the final scenes, when the detective must help Alice make a final report on everything that has happened, he sees his job in a far different perspective.

"Blackmail" is of the darker type of Hitchcock, like "Notorious" or "Vertigo". While clearly made in a different era, it has the same kind of depth and craftsmanship that distinguished those later, more well-known masterpieces.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (75 total) »

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