Blackmail (1929)


“Detectives in glass houses shouldn’t wave clues.” – Tracy

Number of Times Seen – 1 (26 Sep 2018)

Brief Synopsis – After she kills a man in self defense after he attempted to rape her, a young woman is blackmailed by a devious witness in order to help conceal the crime from the police.

My Take on it – In my attempt to watch all of Alfred Hitchcocks’ films, I decided to tackle another of his earlier works which happens to be both his first talkie and also the very first British talkie.

The story itself is quite simplistic, yet it still remains quite relevant even after 90 years because unfortunately not much has changed in the word over that time.

There will apparently always be people who try and take advantage of the situations around them and that doesn’t seem to be something that will change any time soon.

Hitchcock plays the story out quite well and it comes across as seeming very realistic the whole time.

The use of minimal dialogue (which is probably a by-product of the fact that this was meant to be a silent film) helps this story feel even more suspenseful.

The way that the main character constantly blames herself for what transpires is also unfortunately still relevant to today;’s world because even though she was the one who acts in the right, she feels embarrassment to reveal the truth (even to her policeman boyfriend) which ultimately leads to even more problems along the way.

Bottom Line – Great story that is quite simplistic for today’s films, but Hitchcock deals with it quite well here. This film is the first British talkie and the minimal dialogue helps keep things even more suspenseful. This film shows that not much has changed over the 90 years since it was made and there will always be people trying to take advantage of situations however they can. The way that the main character blames herself for her actions is done quite realistically because even though she knows that she acted in the right, her embarrassment to reveal the truth to her boyfriend, a policeman leads to many more problems. Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Much of the film was originally shot silent; when sound became available during the course of shooting, director Alfred Hitchcock re-shot certain scenes with sound, thus making it the Master of Suspense’s first talkie. There was one complication with this change, however. Leading lady Anny Ondra had a thick Czech accent which was inappropriate to her character, Alice White. Joan Barry was chosen to provide a different voice for her, but post-production dubbing technology did not exist then. The solution was for Barry to stand just out of shot and read Alice’s lines into a microphone as Ondra mouthed them in front of the camera. This is generally acknowledged as the first instance of one actor’s voice being dubbed by another, even though the word “dub” is technologically inappropriate in this case. (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy (7/10)

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2 thoughts on “Blackmail (1929)

  1. Pingback: Movies Reviewed Index A-Z |

  2. Pingback: Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 1929 |

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