Blackmail (1929) torrent download

Blackmail

1929

Action / Crime / Film-Noir / Thriller

7

Synopsis

Alice White is the daughter of a shopkeeper in 1920s London. Her boyfriend, Frank Webber is a Scotland Yard detective who seems more interested in police work than in her. Frank takes Alice out one night, but she has secretly arranged to meet another man. Later that night, Alice agrees to go back to his flat to see his studio. The man has other ideas, and as he tries to rape Alice, she defends herself and kills him with a bread knife. When the body is discovered, Frank is assigned to the case, he quickly determines that Alice is the killer, but so has someone else, and blackmail is threatened.

Director

Alfred Hitchcock

Cast

Anny Ondra
as Alice White
Sara Allgood
as Mrs. White
Charles Paton
as Mr. White
John Longden
as Detective Frank Webber
Cyril Ritchard
as The Artist

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Fangus 9 /10

All Things Considered, Quite Extraordinary

Considering the technical limitations confronting Hitchcock (the part-sound/part-silent format; the bulky, graceless early sound camera; a leading lady who barely spoke English, etc.), "Blackmail" remains one of the director's most impressive productions. The visual and sound quality is excellent, especially for a 1929 film, and already Hitchcock is using distinctive camera angles to create memorable effects. (Notice the shadowy interior of the Artist's loft, and the way Hitchcock swoops the camera about to convey Alice's disorientation after the murder.) I also love the way Hitchcock depicts the Blackmailer's flight after his climactic confrontation with Alice and the Detective. We never see the Blackmailer at all - the camera remains frozen on the face of the Detective, who reacts to what is going on. At the moment the Blackmailer shatters the window, the Detective lets out a shout, and the camera - as if startled by the commotion - dollies backward. We immediately cut to the busted window, with a posse of lawmen rushing toward it. It's a wonderful device (what other director in 1929 would have approached the scene in this way, I wonder?). The performances in "Blackmail" are remarkable and eccentric, in the best sense of the word. Donald Calthrop and Cyril Ritchard, playing the disheveled blackmailer and the lecherous artist, etch themselves in your memory. Anny Ondra is fine as Alice, gamely committing herself to the role, even though she was pantomiming lines. Her dazed reactions at the climax of the murder sequence are shocking. She's like a demented robot, yet the behavior rings true for me. Lastly, let me say I admire John Longden's performance most of all. His role as Frank, the detective, is in no sense that of a traditional film hero. He often bullies Alice, turns moody and childish during arguments and is willing to pin murder on an innocent (albeit not very nice) man. Longden realizes all the not very appealing attributes of Frank's behavior (how he sneers when the tables finally turn on Calthrop), but he also makes clear that he loves Alice and is trying to protect her. He is clearly devastated as he talks with Alice in the phone booth and realizes she is indeed guilty. In summary, few of Hitchcock's 1930 British films are on a par with "Blackmail." The depth of its characterizations will remain unmatched until "Rebecca" a decade later. Reflect on how "Blackmail" compares - technically - with America's first sound film and you start to see the true measure of Hitchcock's genius.

Reviewed by Snow Leopard N/A

Creative, Subtle, & Suspenseful

While remembered as the first sound picture made by Alfred Hitchcock (or anyone else in Britain), there is much more to "Blackmail" than merely historical interest. It reveals the director's subtle creativity, with a carefully structured story that also produces some real suspense, with one of Hitchcock's best cameos and an entertaining chase sequence as bonuses. The movie has a unique feel, as Hitchcock was still using many silent film techniques at the same time that he was experimenting with sound. Not all of this works perfectly, but it does not detract from the film's many positive features.

Alice White (Anny Ondra, voice dubbed by Joan Barry) goes out for the evening with her boyfriend, who is a police detective (John Longden). When they have a series of minor quarrels, Alice decides to go her own way, and meets an artist friend. The artist's intentions are obvious, but Alice is innocently unaware. When he brings her to his studio, there is soon an unpleasant confrontation that sets in motion a turbulent series of events.

The story is carefully constructed not just to produce suspense but also to raise interesting questions in the viewer's mind. Alice feels a terrible sense of guilt and fear over what has happened - communicated to the viewer in a variety of creative ways - but of what is she really guilty? The behavior of the detective boyfriend is partly well-intentioned, but he certainly is not faultless. The moral ambiguity is often subtle, because it takes a back seat to the suspense, and it takes a couple of viewings to appreciate all that is going on.

There is a particularly nice symmetry to the beginning and ending, pointing to the greater significance of the action in between. The opening sequence (filmed in silent movie style) shows the detective and his partner dealing with a suspect in a routine way, not caring about him as a person. In the final scenes, when the detective must help Alice make a final report on everything that has happened, he sees his job in a far different perspective.

"Blackmail" is of the darker type of Hitchcock, like "Notorious" or "Vertigo". While clearly made in a different era, it has the same kind of depth and craftsmanship that distinguished those later, more well-known masterpieces.

Reviewed by boris-26 N/A

Be patient with this 70 year old classic! It's gonna grab ya!

If a modern audience sat down to see this film, Alfred Hitchcock's first talkie, they'd squirm in their seats - at first. Unconvincing sound effects and an unmoving camera seemingly bolted to the floor don't help as we watch a prim Scotland Yard detective (John Longden) on a date with his hard to please girlfriend, Alice (Anna Ondra) But, when Alice has to defend herself against a letch who picks her up, the film becomes classic Hitchcock. Rather than use the newfound medium of sound solely to record the audio, Hitchcock uses sound in an expressionistic, experimental manner. After Alice kills the artist, common sounds becoming annoying blasts to the skull! Hitchcock ends the film with a silent (except for music) chase through the British Museum. Not only does this scene anticipate key moments in THE 39 STEPS, SABOTEUR, VERTIGO, and NORTH BY NORTHWEST, it's a companion piece. Fun viewing.

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