Blackmail - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Blackmail Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ May 20, 2008
Interesting film. Often considered to be the first British "talkie", even though it was originally shot as a silent film then re-shot with sound, with the exception of one of the highlights of the film: the first 8 minutes. It's a nice police procedural, and the transition to sound is cool too. Other highlights include the chase scene at the museum and the "knife" repetition scene. The film is extremely British with the way it feels, too. That's just an observation though, and not necessarily a good or bad thing either way. This film is really good, but not without it's problems. It hasn't aged well, and the A/V quality isn't the best, and from time to time the film drags, but the positives (the aforementioned highlights) plus the cinematography, music, and Anny Ondra's performance more than make up for them.
Super Reviewer
½ November 15, 2011
The master in his early days. Even for his first talkie, his visual style is just as brilliant in 1929 as it would be in later years. Whether it be the use of a curtain to disguise some foul play, his immaculate use of shadows, of the way his uses the lights to illuminate a characters overwhelming guilt, Hitch suggests more with a few frames than most directors do in an entire film. While the pacing isn't as streamlined as it would be in later films such as the 39 Steps, it is still fascinating to see just how ahead of his time he was even in the dawn of his career.
Super Reviewer
½ November 28, 2010
Not Hitchcock's best by any means, but pretty clever for its time, and definitely a portent for the incredible work he was to produce. Alice was an idiot.
Super Reviewer
November 29, 2010
On the one hand, the story is very simple, but slow and dragged out, which is kind of annoying, and the nothing is really resolved the way it should. On the other hand this movie is visually interesting, much like later Hitchcock films, and it's one of the first sound films too. Overall, it's interesting to see, but the story could be a lot better.
Super Reviewer
June 29, 2007
One of Hitchock?s first films. This was going to be a silent film, which is apparent by it's beginning, with the camera shots and the over emphasis on the door signs etc, but of course was over-dubbed to become a talkie.

Even in the early films of Hitchcock, it?s clear to see his sinister mind at work.

This was an ok storyline, not one of his best, but enjoyable anyhow.
Super Reviewer
August 10, 2007
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 Beijing
Super Reviewer
December 28, 2010
Nothing like a good Date-Rape movie. (Just Kidding).

PS -Watch it for free on online ;)
Super Reviewer
April 19, 2012
This film being from 1929 is the oldest movie I've seen in my life. It was one of Hitches early works and it was pretty good. Yes it was hard not to be bored at times but with an old movie like this you have to accept that if it happens. The story was mediocre but it was still so well paced it could give you the chill, especially that final scene.
Super Reviewer
½ November 8, 2010
Actually really fascinating and entertaining.
Super Reviewer
½ June 28, 2006
Hitchcock's first sound film is a great one. As stylish as it is gripping, and delightfully crammed with his directorial trademarks.
Super Reviewer
May 11, 2008
A very early Alfred Hitchcock film, the first movie from the U.K. to fully use sound. Unfortunately, the sound used here is really primitive, it?s rather hard to hear a lot of the dialogue. Part of the problem is that the lead actress had a heavy accent and they had another actress record her dialogue off camera as she lip synched, this effect doesn?t work at all and is awkward throughout. The film as a whole is a rather dull. There is two great scenes, one midway through and one toward the end. Otherwise, this is really only important as an artifact.
January 11, 2016
considering when it was made, it's no surprise that it plays more like a play than a film. While the pacing is awkward, the story has just enough shock value and fun to make it worthwhile.
½ March 25, 2014
Alfred Hitchcock's first foray into the world of sound, this feature film began as a silent film, only to be turned into a sound picture partway through production. Don't be fooled by the early moments of the film, it isn't silent (unless you've somehow stumbled upon the much more rare silent version). It actually has some innovative sound techniques, especially considering how early on this film was in the advent of sound films. The movie itself is quite good, and has a rather dark plot. A woman named Alice ends up murdering a man attempting to rape her, and she tries to hide any evidence of her ever being at the man's home...only to leave one of her gloves behind. Her boyfriend is the cop on the murder case (and finding her glove he realizes she is the lead suspect), but a thief who also saw her there attempts to blackmail the couple. It is a solid little thriller that truly sets the stage for the rest of Hitchcock's career. He would continue to tweak and perfect the genre until he was truly the Master of the Suspense, this is a fine early example of his skill with this kind of work.
½ February 6, 2014
While it's still not quite up to Hitchcock levels, it's still an interesting tale with decent characters and a fun mystery. Good pacing, nice storytelling, though a rather mediocre ending.
September 2, 2013
Worth watching just to see Hitchcock's first talkie and an early cameo. I found it interesting throughout but didn't care so much for the end which came rather abruptly.
May 29, 2013
Hitchcock is starting to get into his style here, but the film is still not up to par with his later works.
½ April 12, 2013
It would take more than a man to frighten me.

A woman accompanied by a man she believes is her friend is surprisingly attacked by her companion. She accidentally kills him during the scuffle and tries to make the murder look like a suicide. It is quite apparent to the investigator that it is a murder and he quickly identifies a former convict as a likely suspect. Meanwhile, a local man tries to blackmail the female because he saw her with her victim. Can the girl let the convict take the fall for her crime and how will she deflect the blackmailer?

"I said I'd see you home and I will."

Alfred Hitchcock, director of Rope, North by Northwest, Psycho, Vertigo, Rear Window, Strangers on a Train, Rebecca, Birds, Shadow of a Doubt, and Dial M for Murder, delivers Blackmail. The storyline for this picture is very compelling and contains an amazing main character and suspenseful sub plots. The acting is excellent and the cast includes Anny Ondra, Sara Allgood, Charles Paton, and John Longden.

"Are you frightened?"
"Of course not."

I came across this film on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and was surprised to find an Alfred Hitchcock film I had never seen (I have seen almost all of his pictures). This movie was so cool because Hitchcock filmed this as a silent film and a movie with voices because he knew the days of silent pictures was coming to an end. I thought this was so interesting and brilliantly written. I strongly recommend seeing this picture.

"Did she tell you who did it?"

Grade: B+/A- (8.5)
April 3, 2013
If memory serves, this is the first British produced sound flick; and the script and cinematography were years ahead of their time too. Hitchcock crafted a film which showcased his innovation with all aspects of film making. Good acting too.
August 29, 2012
Sometimes impressive. Mostly hard on the ears (dubbed) and overly assumptuous. Still. It's Hitchcock and all the signs of an impressive director are there. But a masterpiece? No.
½ February 5, 2012
As Great Britain's first "talkie", Blackmail employs a wide array of technical advances and innovative camera techniques that transform a rather mundane murder mystery into a thrilling and suspenseful movie. Alfred Hitchcock's heavy-handed direction pays off as it so often does, with a movie that helped to define a genre. Granted, it has aged a bit, but watch with an open mind and one will find it an enjoyable experience. If you call yourself a fan of thrillers, you have to see Blackmail.
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