Monday, July 19, 2010

Blackmail (1929)

Considered the first "talking" picture produced in England, this Hitchcock film was begun as a silent. It now exists in two versions. I've seen the silent before, in a theatre with live accompaniment, and now I've watched the talkie version. I don't love this movie, find it pretty dull. The scene when Alice, the protagonist, is talked into going into the artist's studio, and subsequently stabs him to avoid being raped, is first-rate. The rest is pretty ponderous until an exciting chase through the Egyptian wing of the British museum.

An interesting note: the dishy Anny Ondry, who plays Alice, had a thick Czechoslovakian accent and had to be dubbed, but there was no post-production dubbing at the time. So she mouthed the words while an English actress spoke her lines just out of frame. It is not one hundred percent convincing.

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