- SKU: 8212098
- Release Date: 02/06/2007
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- 4x3 Full screen
- English stereo audio
- English mono audio
- English closed captioned
- English and Spanish subtitles
- Pure Cinema: The Birth of the Hitchcock Style
This atypical Alfred Hitchcock effort is a cautionary fable which lends credence to the old saw "Love flies out the door when money flies in the window." Joan Barry and Henry Kendall play a young married couple who suddenly come into an inheritance. Bored with their working-class existence, hero and heroine embark upon a world cruise, and it isn't long before Barry gets romantically involved with a landed-gentry gentleman. Meanwhile, Kendall is swept off his feet by a phony princess, who tricks him out of all his money. Broke and miserable, Barry and Kendall head home on a shabby cargo boat, only to find themselves in the middle of a shipwreck. The couple is rescued by a Chinese junk, where the solemn crew members dine on their pet cat. By the time Barry and Kendall have returned to their humble suburban lodgings, they've both learned the sagacity of remaining in their own back yard. Partly a sophisticated sex comedy, partly a grim seafaring melodrama, Rich and Strange had the negative effect of confusing the public in general and Hitchcock's fans in particular, and as a result the film, which remains one of Hitch's best early talkies, died at the box office. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
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
Alfred Hitchcock's second all-talkie thriller, Murder stars Herbert Marshall as pompous actor-manager Sir John Menier, a send-up of George DuMaurier. Summoned for jury duty, Sir John is one of 12 people who must decide the fate of Diana Baring (Norah Baring), a young actress on trial for murder. Though the girl is found guilty, Sir John believes that she's innocent and sets about to prove it on his own, exercising his actor's prerogative of adopting clever disguises in the course of his investigation. Along the way, he is obliged to entertain a pair of lower-class clods, Ted and Dulcie Markham (Edward Chapman and Phyllis Konstam), who help him stage an elaborate re-enactment of the crime. Based on Enter Sir John, a novel and play by Clemence Dane and Helen Simpson, Murder was simultaneously filmed in a German version, with Alfred Abel replacing Herbert Marshall. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Alfred Hitchcock's silent The Ring is a traditional prizefighting melodrama, elevated by the richness of the characterizations and the stylish, Germanic use of the camera. Carl Brisson plays "Round One," a cocky young boxer who matriculates from sideshow bouts to the big time. Round One's marriage to Lilian Hall-Davis goes sour when she throws him over for the champ. During the climactic big fight, Hall-Davis realizes that she's still in love with Round One when she witnesses the brutal beating he's getting. As in Hitchcock's later suspense films, sparks ignite between hero and heroine only when there's an element of danger involved. Alfred Hitchcock collaborated on the script of The Ring with his wife Alma Reville. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
The Skin Game
This uncharacteristic Alfred Hitchcock endeavor was adapted by Hitch and his wife, Alma Reville, from a play by John Galsworthy. The British countryside turns into an ideological battlefield when Hornblower (Edmund Gwenn), a wealthy, self-man tradesman, stakes his claim to a piece of valuable forest property controlled for literally centuries by the "landed gentry." The local squire (C.V. France) and his wife (Helen Haye) dig in their heels and refuse to acknowledge Hornblower's presence -- how dare he use mere money to challenge the rights of blood? Their genteel snobbery is every bit as obnoxious as Hornblower's brash effrontery, and the result is a film with virtually no heroes or villains whatever. Never in any future film did Hitchcock ever lobby so strong an attack on the smug implacability of the aristocracy -- perhaps wisely, since The Skin Game proved to be one of his least-successful films. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Cast & Crew
- Henry Kendall - Fredy Hill
- Joan Barry - Emily Hill
- Percy Marmont - Cmdr. Gordon
- Betty Amann - The Princess
- Elsie Randolph - The Old Lady