Thursday, 5 February 2015

The Farmer's Wife | #ProjectHitch

It’s week five of #ProjectHitch and we have reached the first film that not only bored me but didn’t at all feel like a Hitchcock production. 

The Farmer’s Wife (1928) is a romantic comedy of errors. It begins with our farmer, Samuel losing his wife and daughter, one to death and the other to marriage, leaving him all alone in the world, you know, apart from his dozens of animals, his handyman and his housekeeper. This movie clocks in at over two hours and the first 25 minutes alone are basically just setting up the fact that this guy is lonely. The beginning, while quite drawn out, wasn’t bad. There were a couple of sweet moments, a couple of funny moments and in all I was getting ready to follow along with this farmer while he tried to fulfil the wishes of his deceased wife and remarry. Our farmer, with the help of his beautiful and charming housekeeper, Minta, make up a list of prospective wives for Samuel to pursue. The list is four women long and Samuel seems a little over confident that all the women in question are his for the taking. This is where I started to get a little bit wary. Over the next hour and a half, Samuel proceeds to make an utter fool of himself with repeated awkward, rude and demeaning proposals, my favourite being the third woman who seems to almost match Samuel in his delusions of grandeur, laughing in his face and calling him old before throwing a literal tantrum after Samuel rudely lets her know that she’s hardly one to be picky. The tantrum (which includes full on yelling and flailing of limbs) lasts for minutes. It was hilarious but I have no idea how the actress managed it. It got to the point where it was tiring to watch, let alone actually perform.

The highlight of the film by way of the tantruming lady

While the majority of the characters were unlikeable and treated each other appallingly I’m sure I could have happily watched the events unfold if every scene didn’t seem to go for at least double the length it needed to. The Farmer’s Wife is possibly the most long winded film I have ever forced myself to sit through. The only character I really liked was Minta but by the time our widowed farmer was done being ridiculous I didn’t even want the inevitable pair to end up together. Every ounce of patience I possessed had been sucked from my body over those two tedious hours and all I wanted was for that glorious end card to pop up letting me know it was finally over. 
Samuel and Minta happy at last after a LONG time

I knew getting in to this that Hitchcock’s films would vary in content and quality and that there would most likely be a few I didn’t care for but The Farmer’s Wife was, to me, unrecognisable as a Hitchcock film. There was nothing interesting, nothing innovative and very little that I found redeemable. I was heartened to learn that Hitch himself didn’t much like this movie but it still doesn’t return to me the time lost on this mind numbing film.

Here’s to next week and Easy Virtue, which I’m positive, has to be better than this.

- Lesley

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