This week on Project Hitch was super exciting. Blackmail (1929) is the first of Hitchcock’s (and Britain’s in general) “talkie” films and I could hardly wait to see how it faired.
Blackmail was originally intended to be a silent film but the new found popularity of the “talkie” had the studio heads asking Hitch to add a few novelty “talkie” scenes. Hitch, never one to do things in halves, ended up filming the majority of the film with sound apart from a couple of minutes near the beginning and towards the end, the results were incredible.
Blackmail has worked its way near the top of my favourite Hitchcock films so far. The story follows a sweet but not altogether sensible girl, Alice. Alice is dating a Scotland Yard detective but in a moment of impulse decided to spend the evening with an artist who doesn’t exactly have Alice’s best interests at heart.
I have to admit that I was seriously impressed with Anny Ondra, the actress who portrayed Alice. Her fear, revulsion and catatonic shock after her terrible nights events were amazing to watch. I felt heartbroken for Alice and was glued to the screen, waiting to see what happened next and how the film’s title of Blackmail was going to come into it.
I was pretty much spellbound by this film. The characters were believable; the stakes were high as was the tension. There were a dozen different ways the story could have gone and Hitchcock waited until the last possible moment to reveal how our protagonist was going to fair.
|Anny Ondra perfecting the role of, Alice White|
Blackmail was a completely wonderful film and as for being such an early talking picture, I was beyond impressed.
If you’re new to Hitchcock’s earlier ventures I would recommend checking out this as well as The Lodger, as far as his offers from the 20s go. Both are just wonderful.
Join me next week for Juno and the Paycock.