7.1/10
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121 user 47 critic

Stage Fright (1950)

Approved | | Film-Noir, Mystery, Thriller | 15 April 1950 (USA)
A struggling actress tries to help a friend prove his innocence when he's accused of murdering the husband of a high society entertainer.

Director:

Alfred Hitchcock

Writers:

Whitfield Cook (screen play), Alma Reville (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jane Wyman ... Eve Gill
Marlene Dietrich ... Charlotte Inwood
Michael Wilding ... Ordinary Smith
Richard Todd ... Jonathan Cooper
Alastair Sim ... Commodore Gill (as Alistair Sim)
Sybil Thorndike ... Mrs. Gill
Kay Walsh ... Nellie Goode
Miles Malleson ... Mr. Fortesque (as Miles Mallison)
Hector MacGregor ... Freddie Williams
Joyce Grenfell ... 'Lovely Ducks'
André Morell ... Inspector Byard (as Andre Morell)
Patricia Hitchcock ... Chubby Bannister
Ballard Berkeley ... Sergeant Mellish
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Storyline

Jonathan Cooper is wanted by the police who suspect him of killing his lover's husband. His besotted friend Eve Gill offers to hide him and Jonathan explains to her that his real lover, actress Charlotte Inwood is the real murderer. Eve decides to investigate for herself, but when she meets the detective in charge of the case, she truly falls in love. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Every time I'm beginning to think what color your eyes are, you disappear! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sir Alfred Hitchcock gave his daughter Patricia Hitchcock's character the decidedly unflattering name "Chubby Bannister". In addition to the joke, the name was a term of endearment according to Hitchcock. Alfred said that he liked calling Patricia "Chubby Bannister" because she was "a girl you could always lean on." See more »

Goofs

In the opening credits, Alastair Sim's name is misspelled as "Alistair Sim." See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Eve Gill: Any sign of the police?
Jonathan Cooper: No, no sign. Looks like we're getting away with it.
Eve Gill: Good.
Jonathan Cooper: How far is it to your father's boat?
Eve Gill: Two hours, with luck. You're luck seems to be very good. Touching wood.
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Alternate Versions

A French VHS released in the nineties contained two versions of the film: one dubbed, the other subtitled. Beside this difference numerous edits were made in the dubbed version. Many scenes were shortened such as the talk between Eve and her father outside the boathouse in the night, Eve's attempt to disguise herself as a maid... However, and more importantly, this version contained two longer scenes not present in any copy released on VHS or DVD so far.
  • The first one is an extension of the bar discussion scene between the maid and the other patrons, right before Eve asks Wilfred Smith "Don't you think she's talking too much?" The dialog is dubbed in French.
  • The second scene is a slightly but magnificent longer version of Marlene Dietrich singing "The Laziest Gal in Town". The complete song runs 4 minutes instead of 3.37 in the edited version. The cut occurs after the first "it's not 'cause I couldn't" in the lyrics.
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Connections

Referenced in Be Kind Rewind (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

The Laziest Gal in Town
(1950) (uncredited)
Written by Cole Porter
Performed by Marlene Dietrich and a male quartet
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User Reviews

 
The sets, cast, filming, and plot are all great--a full blooded success
29 March 2010 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

Stage Fright (1950)

Offhand, Marlene Dietrich and Alfred Hitchcock seem like an unlikely pair. But it works! Even if you find Dietrich wooden as an actress, you have to appreciate her aura, which was legendary, and which Hitchcock incorporates, and bounces against, with real virtuosity. There are two or three long scenes, as when Dietrich is trying on her mourning clothes and smoking under her veil, where the filming, the fast dialog, the light, the movement of the characters, and the editing are breathtaking.

Taken in pieces like this, or seen as a whole, the film is a masterpiece of directing and construction. And at least three of the principle characters are just perfect--Jane Wyman as the innocent woman in the middle of it all, Alastair Sims as her father, and Dietrich. A fourth surprise performance is by Michael Wilding, who appears in many different scenes, and is charming, funny, and smart as a whip, playing a detective in love and in the dark.

The plot itself is classic Hitchcock, with seeming innocence and guilt shifting as you watch, and ordinary people getting too involved in the solving of the crime. Including the viewer. Even the use of the flashback that anchors the beginning of the film as two of them speed away gets a huge twist by the end, both a narrative thrill and a logical one, in terms of film-making. Talk about verisimilitude getting in the way of realism.

We know that the stage will play a large role throughout, and Hitchcock loved to include the theatre in his films. Christian Dior designed Dietrich's wardrobes, and the song is by none other than Cole Porter. The song is clever, but not his best, and Dietrich's performance, though supported by a fabulous set for a small time theater, is dull. The writing throughout is rather fabulous, partly thanks to Hitchcock's wife, who worked on it (and look for their daughter, by the way, at the lawn party).

There is so much going right here, what keeps it from quite becoming a masterpiece? I think the key thing is the startling disparity in acting styles. I mean, Wyman, Sim, and Dietrich are about as odd a threesome as you get in terms of acting style. Wilding is a kind of lubricant throughout (he appears in scenes with all of them and seems to make them sensible). The other noticeable flaw might be the last several minutes, when a climax is building, and yet there is an odd diffusion and a sudden end to it all, as if an opportunity was lost to wring us out a little.

But don't let this stand in your way. It's a terrific movie in all. I liked this more this time than any previous viewing, and I was left wondering why I had forgot so much about it. There is some really nice filming, it never gets boring, the sets and locations are fabulous, and some of the individual acting is a wonder. Including Dietrich.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 April 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Stage Fright See more »

Filming Locations:

Mayfair, London, England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,437,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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