Despite their differing backgrounds, fisherman Pete and lawyer Philip have been life long friends on the Isle of Man. Pete wants to marry Kate, the landlord's daughter at the local inn, however Kate's father doesn't think he is good enough. Pete leaves the island to seek his fortune abroad and entrusts Kate to Philip, but they start to be attracted to each other.Written by
Col Needham <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A Lesser Hitchcock That Still Has Some Real Strengths
Though it is a lesser Hitchcock, "The Manxman" has several strengths, and indeed it could have been a fine film if not for some major flaws in the story. The settings and photography are excellent, the acting is generally good, and the story's setup is believable and had possibilities.
The best part of the movie is the setting on the Isle of Man, which is done very nicely, with well-chosen settings and terrific photography. The setting is woven into the story very well, and many of the scenes are given backgrounds and props which re-emphasize the distinctive setting and/or give useful symbolism to the events in the plot. Fishing boats, an old water mill, and the island's rocky beauty are all used effectively.
The characters are presented well, and you quickly get to know them and sympathize with them. The first part of the story moves quickly, and efficiently establishes the love-triangle theme. The three leads (Carl Brisson, Anny Ondra, and Malcolm Keen) are all quite good in this part.
Unfortunately, the rest of the story is rather a disappointment, moving very slowly at times, and often painful to watch because of some notable flaws in the ways the characters act. All this really detracts from the continuing good direction and camera work. There is a very nicely conceived jump cut at one point that could have been very powerful if the story were better, and the climactic sequence does hold some real irony and suspense, but it just doesn't have the impact that it could have had. Hitchcock does his best with things, but it's too bad that he did not have a freer hand with the material, which was apparently based on a novel that for whatever reason had acquired a certain popularity at the time.
Ultimately, this movie is just average. But there are still some strengths here, and it is probably worth a look for silent film fans who especially appreciate good black-and-white photography, or for devoted Hitchcock fans who will appreciate the touches he added to an otherwise unsatisfying story.
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