A rich family, the Hillcrests, is fighting against the speculator, Hornblower, who sends away poor farmers to build factories on their lands. When Mrs. Hillcrest finds out that Chloe Hornblower was a prostitute, she uses this secret to blackmail the speculator and force him to stop his business.Written by
Claudio Sandrini <email@example.com>
Hitchcock has done much better, but The Skin Game is still nowhere near his worst
The Skin Game is one of Hitchcock's lowest rated films here, and has been met with indifference or dislike among the other Hitchcock fans I know. While it is understandable why people wouldn't be crazy about The Skin Game and it has a lot that is not so great about it, personally it is better than it's given credit for. It's not Psycho, Vertigo, Rear Window, Rebecca, Strangers on a Train or The Lady Vanishes but it is far better than Juno and the Paycock(his worst), Champagne, Number Seventeen, Jamaica Inn, Under Capricorn and Topaz. The camera work is very scrappy and unfocused, the script is often too talky and exposition-heavy, the story has moments but can feel a little too leisurely and stage-bound complete with a melodramatic and abrupt ending and CV France is over-theatrical at times. However, while The Skin Game is not Hitchcock all over there is much more of his style than there was in Juno and the Paycock(also based on a play) with some irony and suspense and the auction scene is masterful(the film's best photography is in this scene, its cleverness adds to the intrigue). The script has have some nice ironic humour and heartfelt pathos. While the story doesn't quite come off as well as it could have done it does have some good ideas that are identifiable and has its heart in the right place. As an adaptation of the play it's good, as a Hitchcock film while a big improvement on Juno and the Paycock it does fall short. The acting is much more subtle and the chemistry between the actors is more apparent. Edmund Gwenn has a ball as a very arrogant character, Helen Haye is aristocratic and dominant and in a commanding way without falling into over-theatricality-land and Phyllis Konstam is appropriately sympathetic. All in all, nowhere near Hitchcock's best but also nowhere near his worst, ranking it it would be around low-middle, a similar position to Rich and Strange. 6/10 Bethany Cox
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