6.4/10
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64 user 34 critic

Murder! (1930)

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

Director:

Alfred Hitchcock

Writers:

Clemence Dane (from: "Enter Sir John"), Helen Simpson (from: "Enter Sir John") | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Herbert Marshall ... Sir John Menier
Norah Baring ... Diana Baring
Phyllis Konstam ... Doucie Markham
Edward Chapman ... Ted Markham
Miles Mander ... Gordon Druce
Esme Percy ... Handel Fane
Donald Calthrop ... Ion Stewart
Esme V. Chaplin Esme V. Chaplin ... Prosecuting Counsel
Amy Brandon Thomas ... Defending Counsel (as Amy Brandon-Thomas)
Joynson Powell ... Judge
S.J. Warmington ... Bennett
Marie Wright Marie Wright ... Miss Mitcham
Hannah Jones ... Mrs. Didsome
Una O'Connor ... Mrs. Grogram
R.E. Jeffrey ... Foreman of the Jury
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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 dress. Written by Claudio Sandrini <pulp99@geocities.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 November 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Enter Sir John See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print: British)

Sound Mix:

Mono (R. C. A. Photo Phone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The British Board Of Film Censors certificate at the beginning of this movie states, "This is to certify that "Murder" (Synchronized) has been Passed for Public Exhibition to Adult Audiences" "A". See more »

Goofs

At the very end of the scene that the half-caste (Fane) meets Sir John in his office, Sir John can be seen to be saying lines that cannot be heard. The scene fades as his mouth is moving. 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 »

Alternate Versions

The UK version includes approximately 12 minutes of footage cut from the USA release. The extra footage occurs primarily in two sequences:
  • Additional jury deliberations prior to the introduction of Herbert Marshall as Sir John.
  • After the discovery of the broken basin in the playhouse dressing room, there is a lengthy sequence showing Sir John paying the stagehand who granted him entrance and leaving with the Markhams. The scene fades to the end of the day, with the weary trio stopping at the door of "the policeman's rooming house", where Sir John had planned to stay the night. Noticing the shabby neighborhood, he starts to change his mind and retire to his luxury hotel suite, but Ted Markham reminds him of his hope to discover further clues at the rooming house. Fade in to Sir John in bed the next morning, being awakened by the sound of crying children. The landlady (Una O'Connor, billed in the USA credits although all her scenes are cut) enters and regales Sir John with her troubles. Meanwhile, her children play on and around the bed and give him a kitten, which crawls under his covers. The landlady confirms that the suspected killer had access to a police uniform. Enter Ted Markham, whose ensuing dialogue with Sir John reinforces the importance of the "second" policeman and establishes the existence of the blood-stained cigarette case, both of which ultimately prove critical in solving the murder. Here, the scene cuts to the prison where the USA version picks up with Sir John's interview of Norah Baring.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Elstree Calling (1930) 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

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User Reviews

 
skewering the straightforward
24 December 2004 | by dustybooksSee all my reviews

One of the most conventional stories Hitchcock ever filmed, this is an innovative early curio full of clever moments, a vibrant feature that overwhelms its intelligent but lifeless (and dated) script. It is not a match for the stunning BLACKMAIL, but it is a worthy followup after the less interesting JUNO & THE PAYCOCK.

Sir John's quest to clear the woman he helped convict of murder charges takes a familiar whodunit path, but the performances help make this a unique film. All credit goes to Hitchcock for crafting another visually arresting movie and for knowing precisely how to tell the tale without overreaching (something he accomplished even in his weakest movies).

You'd expect that this movie, full of pioneering experiments, would feel like an antique; so many of the things it attempts have become tired clichés, yet the actors and director ensured that MURDER! would retain a freshness that is potent even now.

Without revealing too much, the sequence that really stays with you occurs near the end of the picture at a circus. This climactic, dark scene will leave you reeling in disbelief. Each time I see it I come away wondering how he managed something so remarkable -- and in a sense, terrifying -- to wrap up this Agatha Christie-like plot. Hitchcock's brightest years are ahead of him at this point, but the circus scene may be a career highlight.

The director disliked "whodunit" stories due to their rigid structure and the lack of opportunities for suspense, and admittedly this story is not as exciting as THE LODGER or BLACKMAIL, but he does milk the plot for all that it's worth and I think most anyone would be entertained by it. For Hitchcock buffs, this is a must, and thanks to the copious experimentation it's also recommended to anyone who is interested in early sound cinema.


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