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Murder! (1930)

6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 3,620 users  
Reviews: 45 user | 28 critic

A juror in a murder trial, after voting to convict, has second thoughts and begins to investigate on his own before the execution.

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(from: "Enter Sir John"), (from: "Enter Sir John"), 3 more credits »
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Title: Murder! (1930)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Herbert Marshall ...
Norah Baring ...
Phyllis Konstam ...
Edward Chapman ...
...
Esme Percy ...
Donald Calthrop ...
Esme V. Chaplin ...
Amy Brandon Thomas ...
Defending Counsel (as Amy Brandon-Thomas)
Joynson Powell ...
S.J. Warmington ...
Marie Wright ...
Hannah Jones ...
...
R.E. Jeffrey ...
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Storyline

The police find the actress, Diana Baring, near the body of her friend. All the circumstantial proofs seems to point to her and, at the end of the trial, she is condemned. Sir John Menier, a jury member, suspects Diana's boyfriend, who works as an acrobat wearing a dresses. Written by Claudio Sandrini <pulp99@geocities.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

murder | actress | jury | actor | theater | See more »


Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 November 1930 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Assassinato  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print: British)

Sound Mix:

(R.C.A. Photo Phone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The scene where Sir John thinks out loud in front of a mirror had to be filmed with a recording of the lines and a thirty piece orchestra hidden behind the set as it was not possible to post-dub the soundtrack later. See more »

Goofs

When Sir John and the Markhams discuss their next move in front of the boarding house (and Hitchcock makes his cameo appearance by walking in front of them), an old-style floor microphone is plainly visible near the left edge of the screen. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Old Woman: People ought to be ashamed of themselves, kicking up all that racket at this time of night.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Paul Merton Looks at Alfred Hitchcock (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Symphony No.5 in C Minor, Op.67
(1809) (uncredited)
Music by Ludwig van Beethoven
Played during the opening credits
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A rather average murder mystery that is boosted by a shocking and suspenseful climax
19 November 2007 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Whenever I review one of Alfred Hitchcock's lesser-revered pre-1940 British efforts, I always find myself falling back upon an old cliché. Each time, in no uncertain terms, I declare that that, within this film, regardless of its cinematic merits (or lack thereof), one can detect the makings of a genius. At least in the case of 'Murder! (1930),' I can say this with complete confidence, since, though the film is rather ponderous between the interesting beginning and the thrilling ending, the director's aptitude for technical inventiveness is undeniably present. The film, one of Hitchcock's first talkies after he revolutionised British cinema with 'Blackmail (1929)' was based upon the novel "Enter Sir John," written by Clemence Dane and Helen Simpson. Unlike the "wrong man" scenario that would become Hitchcock's trademark, 'Murder!' involves the "wrong woman," as a young stage actress is condemned to die following the murder of a fellow performer.

Just like a previous film of his, the silent melodrama 'Easy Virtue (1928),' this film dedicates many of its opening minutes towards a genuinely thrilling courtroom trial. After the damning evidence has been presented to the members of the jury, all but three of the jurors vote to have the young lady, Diana Baring (Norah Baring), hanged for her crime. Hitchcock's apparent disregard for the British legal system is evident for all to see, as the three solitary "not guilty" voters are practically bullied into altering their votes. The venerable stage actor Sir John Menier (Herbert Marshall), despite his fervent belief in the girl's innocence, is likewise bullied into changing his decision, pressured by the other jurors' impatient taunts; after mentioning an irrefutable fact of the case, the group would exclaim in unison, "any answer to that, Sir John?!" Once the trial has come to an end, Sir John decides to investigate the murder for himself, employing the services of a pair of husband-and-wife actors (Edward Chapman and Phyllis Konstam) to aid him.

The novel "Enter Sir John" had previously been adapted into a play, and style of the film does exhibit these theatrical roots. Each of the actors (most playing stage performers, no less), do provide performances that are more theatrical than realistic, and Herbert Marshall, in particular, struck me as an actor somewhat akin to our contemporary Kenneth Branagh {who'd be my obvious casting choice for Sir John if a remake were ever conceived}. There is an excellent little spin to the ending, with Hitchcock almost breaking the fourth wall, but not quite. The camera zooms out from the closing shot to reveal that it is taking place on a stage before a large audience, suggesting that the director knew quite well that the style and plot of the film resembled a dramatic performance. Even more interestingly, could Hitchcock be suggesting that we have been watching a play for the past 90 minutes? Rather than watching the events unfold as they happened, could we merely be a member of the audience watching Sir John's theatrical adaptation of the story? This tantalising possibility represents a level of abstract thought that is rather unique among films of its era.


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