Blackmail (1929)

Dir. Alfred Hitchcock
7/10

A decent pick for the 1001 book. On one level we get to see early Hitchcock (and his abilities are already on display) and, on another, this is a pretty effective film. Other idiots would find this enjoyable and worth-watching, but it’s not something you would really run out to see.

**
The film is about Alice and her Scotland yard boyfriend Frank. After a spat, Alice meets an artist. What does the blackmail entail? Well, I’ll leave that part of it out.

***
The first five minutes of the film are essentially without sound. According to the 1001 book the film was supposed to be a silent picture, but, mid-way through, they decided to add sound. I mention the first five minutes because it’s good. There are no title cards, but you know exactly what’s going on; the acting didn’t seem so dramatic and pronounced like you see in other silent films, too.

Since this is a Hitchcock film, you have to be thinking if the suspense worked. Imo, it did, to the very end, although I felt the ending was ambiguous. On one hand, Hitchcocok may have intended that. Is Alice comfortable with pinning her act of murder on Tracy? It’s hard to say, but I don’t know if I could live with that. Donald Calthrop as Tracy is good at playing a slime-ball. Audiences must have felt satisfied with his end. The acting was decent all-around.

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