Friday, February 20, 2009

A test you'll like taking

Last night I dragged the StockPot of Knitting over to the TV to watch Blackmail, the 1929 Hitchcock film.

I read a review once of Helen Hayes' performance in an early silent, where she's hiding in a closet in fear of being beaten if she's found. Her devastating response to this acting challenge was to pace round and round in that tiny space as though she were a caged animal. I couldn't help thinking of that as Anny Ondra's hand and forearm cast about from behind a curtain looking for something - anything - to stop what was happening to her.

Blackmail was England's first talkie: silent filming was already underway when Hitchcock was asked to redo it with sound. He agreed, but he went ahead with the silent version too, and some critics think that it's better. What do you think? Here's a silent clip of Anny's character returning home from an all-night walk after murdering her attacker, and here's the talkie take.

1 comment:

TexNan said...

I'll be interested to hear what others say but I like some of each. The bird annoyed the heck out of me in the talkie, but I liked sound better through the part where the maid/housekeeper (?) was talking, less after the bird woke up especially where Annie reapplied her make-up and got dressed.