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When Boys Leave Home (1927)

Downhill (original title)
Not Rated | | Adventure , Drama , Thriller | 1928 (USA)
Public schoolboy Roddy Berwick is expelled from school when he takes the blame for a friend's charge and his life falls apart in a series of misadventures.

Director:

Alfred Hitchcock

Writers:

Constance Collier (as David L'Estrange), Ivor Novello (as David L'Estrange) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview:
Ivor Novello ... Roddy Berwick
Ben Webster Ben Webster ... Dr. Dawson
Norman McKinnel Norman McKinnel ... Sir Thomas Berwick
Robin Irvine Robin Irvine ... Tim Wakeley
Jerrold Robertshaw Jerrold Robertshaw ... The Rev. Henry Wakeley
Sybil Rhoda Sybil Rhoda ... Sybil Wakeley
Annette Benson Annette Benson ... Mabel
Lilian Braithwaite Lilian Braithwaite ... Lady Berwick
Isabel Jeans ... Julia
Ian Hunter ... Archie
Hannah Jones ... Dresser
Barbara Gott Barbara Gott ... Madame Michet
Violet Farebrother ... Poetess
Alf Goddard Alf Goddard ... Sailor
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Storyline

Public schoolboy Roddy Berwick is expelled from school when he takes the blame for a friend's charge and his life falls apart in a series of misadventures. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A College Hero round whom is woven a picture of Love and Treachery. (Print ad- The recorder ((Port Pirie, South Australia)) 3 July 1928)


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Release Date:

1928 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

When Boys Leave Home See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Gainsborough Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (2012) (theatrical) | (2012 restoration)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Color:

Black and White (sepia/black & white)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

When the boy shows Roddy the coin, he is holding it in a different way than in the close-up shot. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Dr. Dawson: I wish you had more boys like Roddy to send us, Sir Thomas.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: Here is a tale of two school-boys who made a pact of loyalty. One of them kept it - at a price.

The World of Youth. See more »

Connections

Featured in Shepperton Babylon (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Technically superb, narratively creaky
11 January 2014 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

As a huge Hitchcock fan, Downhill was an interesting film but while not among his weakest it is a long way from being among his best. The acting is not bad at all, in fact decent(likewise with the chemistry between them), Ivor Novello's performance is expressive and moving if not always subtle, Isabel Jeans is a sympathetic Julia and Annette Benson makes Mabel's scheming believable. Ian Hunter is also very naturalistic in his role. The production values and Hitchcock's direction are Downhill's best qualities, both are superb. The film is really beautifully shot, some of the best and most ahead-of-its-time photography of any of Hitchcock's silent films. The choice of locations are appropriate and well-utilised, particularly with the scenes set in the nightclub and theatre. The hand-held camera shots signifying Roddy's delirium, the slow pan shot during the dance in the Parisian hall scene and the long pulling-back shot with us thinking that Roddy is dressing for a fancy night, then us thinking that he is waiter and then we realise that he is on the stage stand out as being especially good technically. Hitchcock wasn't yet in his comfort zone, but his direction not only shows technical skill but also early in his career being able to show the psychological insight that he was often so good at. As well as enhancing the mood. From a narrative standpoint unfortunately Downhill falls far short in comparison, for all how strong his visuals and direction are Hitchcock apparently had little interest in the story and it comes through loud and clear. The story creaks that wooden floorboards in a deserted house, makes very little sense and does drag quite badly at times. The characters are not very interesting and often one-sided which, especially with the female characters, may leave a sour taste in the mouth. The script touches on the social hypocrisy and the separation of classes- morally mostly- but to me it does very little with those themes and while interesting for when and where Downhill was set it doesn't hold up well today. On the whole, a mixed view here, loved it technically, didn't care for it narratively. 5/10 Bethany Cox


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