It’s week 3 of #ProjectHitch and with it comes a distinction within Hitchcock’s career. The Ring (1927) is the only completely original screenplay Hitch ever produced, with no other writers receiving credit for the conception. I was definitely interested in seeing this film because of that reason but I have to say that it didn’t quite meet my expectations.
I should also mention, I had trouble finding a copy of this movie so ended up watching it on youtube, which I don’t necessarily recommend doing since the only full length uploads I could find didn’t include the soundtrack which made for a bit of a stunted viewing experience.
The Ring centres around fair ground boxer, “One round” Jack and his girl, Mabel. Jack is in essence a carnival attraction, luring punters into a tent with the promise that he’ll knock out any opponent in one round. The beautiful Mabel, works outside his tent, selling tickets. Early on in the piece, we are introduced to the professional heavyweight champ, Bob Corby, who conveniently enough falls for the lovely Mabel as well.
The majority of the film focuses on this love triangle between Mabel and the two boxers, with the fickle Mabel at times playing with both of their affections. Jack is very much the underdog of the film and therefore clearly the man we’re meant to root for. Mabel does consent to marry Jack, not far into the film but continues her affair with Bob throughout.
|Grimy guy promoting Jack's boxing attraction.|
For me, the supporting characters ended up being much more of a draw, the old gypsy lady at the fair ground and the grimy looking guy (who sometimes resembled Roy Disney?) that Jack works with, being my two favourites. They stole every scene they were in as far as I’m concerned. Unfortunately I have no idea of these character's names, if they do indeed have names.
The biggest problem I found was, from the start, it was possible to predict the entire outcome of the film. The plot was relatively obvious and seemingly unimaginative, something I found particularly irritating coming from a Hitchcock film. Even though this wasn’t one of Hitch’s much loved suspense films, I was still hoping for a little bit of a twist. Just something a little out of the ordinary to make me sit up and pay attention but unfortunately I waited in vain. Perhaps the predictability of the film’s love triangle and underdog working their way through the ranks motifs would have been less obvious in 1927 but The Ring doesn’t seem to hold up for a modern audience the way many of his other films do.
I still enjoyed The Ring in general and am glad to have watched it but I can’t help but feel it was a little bit of a letdown compared to his previous efforts.
Be sure to come back next week for my thoughts on the 1927 film, Downhill. Hopefully it will be a more successful excursion that The Ring.