Monday 4 February 2019

The Early Hitchcock Collection from Optimum DVD - 9

Champagne (1928 - B/W) - Insanely experimental, ambitious romantic comedy with Betty Balfour lolloping about on a cruise.

The Ring (1928 - B/W) - An interesting picture of carnival boxing, complete with blackface minstrel magicians.  Again, lots of visual inspiration, including superimposed faces of panic over the match.

The Farmer's  Wife (1928 - B/W) - Pantoish romantic com-melodrama.

The Manxman (1929 - B/W) Typical silent melodrama about boat racing in the Isle of Man. Actually shot in Cornwall. Because the Isle of Man Film Commission wasn't a thing back then, obviously.

Blackmail! (1929 - B/W) - Hitchcock's first sound, mostly. The first details of his style to the point that it feels like a parody. But it is very odd, mixture of newsreel, comedy and krimi. The sound has dated badly. Sounds like a MIDI file. The museum chase is excitingly staged, though.

Murder! (1930 - B/W) - Another mystery. Mostly a dull courtroom drama, the twist being the camp drag act is the murderer because he doesn't want people to know he had a black ancestor. The drag trapeze routine at the circus is the most extraordinary thing. Tries to play being a "half-caste" for tragedy. The end breaks the fourth wall.

The Skin Game (1931 - B/W) - Featuring Edmund Gwenn in the British film days when he worked with a pre-hotpot Betty Driver/Turpin/Williams (she's not in this, sadly), a rural romance drama. Well-made, but not quite my thing. A John Galsworthy adaptation.

Rich and Strange (1932 - B/W) - Aptly named relationship drama where everyone looks like ghosts. With added variety interlude in Paris. Ends with couple on a sinking ship, only to be rescued by a Chinese junk for some reason.

Number Seventeen (1932  - B/W) - A typical quota quickie thriller. Vague.

As a whole, Murder! may be the most entertaining.

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