The difficulties of the transition from silent to sound
This film was originally to be made as a silent and went into production in early 1929.RCA sound equipment was installed in April 1929,the film was scrapped and restarted as a sound film.So what you have is a sound sequence then an obvious silent sequence with an orchestra playing right through the silent sequence at full pitch,only to stop abruptly when sound resumes again.When the film was trade shown it was 14000 feet long.This is well over 2hours.A new version of 8000 feet was trade shown .the version that currently exists is 6700feet.The running time is shown above as 100minutes but it appears that this is rather unlikely.A couple have an argument in her flat in Kennington.She says that she cant marry him and he sees something which gives the reason for this but which is totally unclear.He storms out.She goes out to have a good time and meets up with a rather odd man at a bar.She takes him home to her flat and following on with his off behaviour he strangles her.Her boyfriend is accused and convicted of the murder.The murderer confesses to his family.Instead of shopping him to the law they decide to hire a good lawyer to try and get the boyfriend off.However the murderer send notes to the trial judge admitting guilt but giving no name.the family tell the murderer that he is an epileptic and therefore did not know what he was doing and was therefore not morally responsible for the murders.The murderer then send a signed and witnessed note to the Home Secretary and goes out in the garden and shoots himself.the boyfriend is freed.The plot must have been old hat even then.How many times did Hitchcock use a variation of this theme. The real problem is the acting.It seems as if the actors and director must have decided that if the pantomime style was OK for silents it would be OK for sound.As a result the actors in general ,but in particular the one who plays the murderer go completely over the top.Eyes rolling,moaning,writhing.Like he was playing to the back row of the gallery.Sybil Thorndike is a bit more restrained but even she overdoes it at times.so a real curiosity.
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