This has a good opening silent sequence and, let’s face it, a lot of early sound films are only any good in the silent sequences because plummy accents coupled with stilted awkward acting have not worn well. So a man arriving at a mystery house on a windy night and finding an apparently dead man sets up the film rather nicely but once Leon M. Lion turns up (the actual leading man – baffling) it becomes less entertaining and more confusing. Hitchcock went to town with the lighting and the camera angles, and why not? I don’t believe he didn’t think it a ropey script.
But, what does redeem it and what I remembered about it after a gap of maybe three decades since I first saw it, were the models – which are wonderful. The mix of models and live action in the train and car sequence is just brilliant. And very exciting.
Alma fact: co-scenario by
Appearance by a cat or dog: I can’t remember
Transport: a train, a bus, a ferry
Source: The Early Hitchcock Collection (Optimum Releasing)
Sir Basil Spence was a prolific architect of the Modernist and Brutalist styles. What ever you think of the buildings he designed, there is no little amount of irony in comparing what he built versus the house he actually lived.
We were following a walk along the course of the New River in Highbury/Stoke Newington which was pretty dull along the culverted stretch along Petherton Road but this lovely representation of a zebra crossing with vigorously flashing Belisha beacons painted on the pavement of Church Path (overlooked by a black cat lounging on a window sill) was a nice surprise.
This innocuous building on Garratt Lane in Wandsworth has had a host of different purposes including a cinema from 1908 to the late 1920s.
Hitchcock loved his models and so do I.