The Skin Game (1931)


“All right, we’ll play what ye call a skin game, Hillcrist, without gloves on; we won’t spare each other. Ye look out for yourselves, for, begod, after this morning I mean business.” – Mr. Hornblower

Number of Times Seen – 1 (26 Mar 2018)

Brief Synopsis – Two British families fight over a parcel of land that one wants to farm and the other wants to build a factory.

My Take on it – This is another of Alfred Hitchcock’s films that I had never seen before and was quite excited to find out what it all was about.

This film actually has a fascinating idea but is pretended really poorly.

The two warring families bring their points across quite well but so much of what happens is hidden behind a mysterious curtain since the Hayes Code just didn’t allow them to explain what is really going on in a concrete way and the viewer needs to try and guess aspects of it.

The pacing of this film is way too slow and there are scenes that feel as if they drag on for too long with not much ever happening and only then finally get to the point of that particular scene.

The ending of the film has the opposite problem; it happens too abruptly without much of an explanation also.

This is all pretty frustrating because one expects more from a director like Hitchcock (even in his early years) being able to present the film in a competent way.

Bottom Line – Has an interesting idea that just isn’t presented well enough. The fighting between the two families work quite well, but due to the Hays code at the time, they can’t even take the time to explain certain aspects of the plot and we sorta need to guess what they are inferring. The pacing is too slow and there are scenes that take way too long to actually get to the point of the scene.  The ending is a bit too quick and feels rushed.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Edmund Gwenn and Helen Haye reprised their roles as Mr. Hornblower and Ivy Hillcrist from the silent version The Skin Game (1921). (From IMDB)

Rating – Razzie Worthy (3/10)

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