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Alfred Hitchcock Classics, Vol. 4 [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

The Manxman
Although he was established as a master of suspense by 1929, Alfred Hitchcock was still under contract to British International Pictures, and thus still obliged to direct everything his studio chose for him. Hitch's last silent film was The Manxman, a "romantic triangle" imbroglio based on a novel by Hall Caine. Filmed on location in the Isle of Man, the story concerns a local fisherman named Pete (Carl Brisson), a law student named Philip (Malcolm Keen), and a beautiful village girl named Kate (played by German actress Anny Ondra). When Pete is reported drowned, Kate turns to Philip for solace and sexual gratification. By and by, Pete returns none the worse for wear. Never suspecting that Kate has been unfaithful to him, Pete marries the girl. Eventually she bears Philip's child, which of course Pete assumes is his. Unable to lie to her husband anymore, Kate attempts suicide, which according to the laws of the Island is a crime. Kate is brought before the judge, who happens to be her ex-lover Philip. Confronted with the truth by Kate's father (who has suspected all along that she and Philip have had an affair), Philip gives up his legal career to make an "honest woman" out of Kate. An unrelentingly dour film, The Manxman is nonetheless beautifully photographed by Jack Cox. Sensing that the film would not appeal to a mass audience, BIP withheld release of The Manxman until after the distribution of Hitchcock's first talkie, Blackmail. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Blackmail
Alfred Hitchcock's first sound film utilized the new sound technology in a rather creative way off-camera. Hitchcock's lead actress, Anny Ondra, had a strong Eastern European accent that was difficult for English audiences to understand, so Hitchcock's solution was to have British actress Joan Barry speak Ondra's lines of dialogue off-camera. The film concerns a woman who kills a man who tries to assault her. Ondra plays Alice White who, while having dinner in a fancy English nightspot with her husband-to-be Scotland Yard Detective Frank Webber (John Longden), begins to flirt with an artist (Cyril Richard) seated at the next table. The artist invites her up to see his studio, and she goes but balks when the artist asks her to pose in the nude. When the request becomes a demand, Alice stabs him to death. She rejoins her fiance and tries to forget the murder, but her conscience keeps bothering her. To make matters worse, sniveling rat Tracy (Donald Calthrop) materializes to blackmail Alice for the crime. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Carl Brisson
    Carl Brisson - Pete Quilliam
  • Anny Ondra
    Anny Ondra - Kate
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    Randle Ayrton - Kate's Father
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    Clare Greet - Her Mother
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    Kim Peacock - Ross Christian
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