I’ve seen a lot of films and this is one of the worst I have ever seen. If a film as static and talky and irritating as this turns up on Talking Pictures TV I stop watching but I was obliged to finish this. I even at one point said I’d rather watch Frenzy which is really saying something.
I’m aware it is a relatively faithful adaptation of the play and I think that is particularly where the problem lies. It is so stagey with actors proclaiming rather than acting. And to anybody who argues there are Hitchcockian touches, there aren’t. Early sound films didn’t have to be like this.
One ironic thing is that I was dismayed that Barry Fitzgerald was in it and it turned out that he wasn’t the worst thing about it. The casting was odd too – you have members of the Abbey Theatre and…Edward Chapman younger than his son, John Laurie, and talking of John Laurie…One thing that actually did tickle me was the fact that John Laurie appears to have been the Sean Connery of his day by dint of the fact he didn’t even try to hide his Scottish accent.
Appearance by a cat or dog: reversed shot of a cat climbing up/down a lamppost
Alma fact: scenario by
Source: Film First DVD
Cupar is a nice middle-class town in Fife. It is in the constituency of North East Fife (previously East Fife). Prior to the 2015 election it swung from Conservative/Unionist to Liberal/Liberal Democrat over periods lasting decades. It was actually the constituency of the early 20th century Liberal prime minster Herbert Asquith and of the recent Liberal Democrat leader Menzies Campbell. Then it all changed.
One of things I love about the London Underground is its visual identity which is all over the place. It’s so quirky because the lines all developed in different ways with different origins. The Victoria Line was built after the system was nationalised. Anyway, it was decided that all the stations should have their own tiled motifs set in the bench recesses. Here are a few of them.
I watched the sound version and the silent version ages ago and enjoyed them both. I preferred Anny Ondra when she was silent because the dubbing is all wrong. Joan Barry was far too posh. The knife scene works well both ways but I have to say the sound version is very clever. Hitchcock has turned into Hitchcock.
I love the glimpses of London in the twenties we get particularly those seen during Alice’s walk of misery after the murder.
Appearance by a cat or dog: none
Transport: motor vehicles
Source: The Early Hitchcock Collection (Optimum Releasing)/Erpressung (Arthaus)