Number Seventeen (1932)

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)

Belisha beacons

Belisha beacons

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.