“Well, let me tell you something, Favell: blackmail isn’t so pure nor so simple, and it brings a great deal of trouble to a great many people before it’s through, and we know how to deal with it in our part of the world. And, sometimes, the blackmailer finds *himself* in jail at the end of it! ” – Colonel Julyan
Number of Times Seen – Twice (11 Feb 2014 and 22 Oct 2020)
Link to original review – Here
Brief Synopsis – A young women falls in love with a widower whose wife died under strange circumstances.
My Take on it – This is a film that I first saw a few years ago and with the recent remake coming out, I decided to revisit the original film in order to compare them both.
This is the only film directed by Alfred Hitchcock that went on to win Best Picture.
This is quite surprising since Hitchcock had some great films over his storied career and this is not among his very best.
The film is a very interesting psychological thriller that is able to slowly allow us to understand all that is really going on as it plays out.
The story has some great twists and turns that help make things so much more enjoyable to watch unfold.
The film has some great performances and both Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine are superb in the lead roles.
Their chemistry is quite electric and it’s quite realistic how their character seem to fall in love so quickly.
Some of the themes of the film are quite intriguing, but they deal with them in far too tame a way which hurts things a bit.
I’m still a bit surprised that this was considered the Best Film of 1940, because there are some others that were nominated that were much better.
Bottom Line – Only Hitchcock film to ever win Best Picture which is somewhat surprising since it’s far from the best. The story works well as a psychological thriller and they are able to slowly allow us to get a better understanding of everything going on. The film has some great twists and surprises along the way that help enhance the story. The performances are quite realistic and it’s easy to believe the rapid relationship between Olivier and Fontaine because they have such great chemistry between them. I’m still a bit surprised that this was considered the Best film of the year because it feels far too tame in all that it does despite having some very intriguing themes. Recommended!
MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Because Sir Laurence Olivier wanted his then-girlfriend Vivien Leigh to play the lead role, he treated Joan Fontaine horribly. This shook Fontaine up quite a bit, so director Sir Alfred Hitchcock decided to capitalize on this by telling her everyone on the set hated her, thus making her shy and uneasy, just what he wanted from her performance. (From IMDB)
Rating – Globe Worthy (8/10) (no change from original review)
Check out my *updated* movie stats here
To see my reviews of Oscar Winning Performances check out this link
To see my reviews of all Oscar Best Picture Winners click here (now complete)
Here is a link to my movie index A-Z