Alice White is the daughter of a shopkeeper in 1920's London. Her boyfriend, Frank Webber is a Scotland Yard detective who seems more interested in police work than in her. Frank takes Alice out one night, but she has secretly arranged to meet another man. Later that night Alice agrees to go back to his flat to see his studio. The man has other ideas and as he tries to rape Alice, she defends herself and kills him with a bread knife. When the body is discovered, Frank is assigned to the case, he quickly determines that Alice is the killer, but so has someone else and blackmail is threatened. Written by
Col Needham <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I have seen most of Alfred Hitchcock's films, silent and talking, and was saving this one for a special occasion. It was really quite good and although over-rated despite being cited so often (along with Mamoulian's "Applause") as a successful example of the transition between the silents and talkies in all the references I've consulted, it still has some distinct good qualities of its own. Annie Ondra is an excellent silent actress and this among several other films proves it. Her accent was very strong, of course, and employing Joan Barry to "lip-synch" was genial. Francois Truffaut's interviews with Hitchcock about working with Ms Ondra were enough to stimulate anyone's appetite to see her (and to hear Joan Barry) at work. The music - at least in the beginning - is excessively burdensome and "busy" and frankly irritating. However, when the characters finally began dialogue, it calmed down considerably and actually worked out well until the ending. We're seeing a hybrid here: a talkie and a part-talkie. When the talking itself finally happens, the characters aren't even facing the camera but are photographed from behind! This is the famous Hitchcock we know and love in the heat of action. The view of the staircase is very Hitchockian as in "Vertigo" or "Psycho" as well as the chase in a public monument (North by Northwest" comes to mind). Yes, the director made the move to talking pictures quite fluently and fluidly. One should keep in mind, too, that the film had already been completed as a silent before being converted into a talkie! All the more to admire...
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