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Blackmail Reviews

Page 1 of 11

Super Reviewer

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

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.
Drew S

Super Reviewer

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.
Lady D

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.
Cassandra M

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
Sean G

Super Reviewer

December 28, 2010
Nothing like a good Date-Rape movie. (Just Kidding).

PS -Watch it for free on online ;)
Daniel D

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.
Andrew F

Super Reviewer

November 8, 2010
Actually really fascinating and entertaining.
Mike T

Super Reviewer

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.
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.
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.
January 11, 2008
This movie is very good... interesting in that it was made right at the transition between silent and sound cinema. This was originally shot as a silent, then reshot with sound. Many of the scenes are silent, and the film essentially mixes silent and sound scenes. Makes for a remarkable film.
Brett C.
July 8, 2014
Review In A Nutshell:

Before watching this, I did some minor reading on this film and it seems that Blackmail was Hitchcock's first film to use sound. Blackmail's plot is quite simple, it is about a married woman who decides to spend some time with another man, which eventually led her to go up with him in his apartment. From then on the man tried to rape her but through self-defence, she murdered him with a bread knife. I could go on detailing the plot of the film, but I think that would have ruined for you the first hour of the film. The film's story could have actually been told in about 50-60 minutes, and I think the film would have benefited if it was done this way. Watching this, it felt like Hitchcock directed Blackmail with the intention of making a unique film, at least for the time, but doesn't feel confident enough to give it the elevated pace the film requires, and instead decided to flesh it out with such length in order to get the film's ideas across, this may be forgiven at the time but I personally felt it was dragged out too much. I also had a problem with its "Blackmail" part of the film, the film failed to alert me the reason of why the man is doing this in the first place, and the scene where he was meant to come off as intimidating barely made an impact on me. Aside from this, I don't have any other issue with the film. This film's plot and ability to flesh out its protagonist allows this film to rank up with the director's notable set of films. The film was able to tackle the sense of guilt that the woman felt after she committed the murder and also the fact that she was about to commit adultery. We sympathise and empathise for her choice to defend herself and it remains that way until the final few minutes of the film. The film's use of sound was actually quite effective, and even more so during its time of release. I thought for an early sound picture, I couldn't immerse myself in the story and its atmosphere, but Hitchcock was able to do this, with the help of the film's musical score, of course. Definitely give this one a try if you are interested to watch an early thriller from Hitchcock.
June 22, 2014
Hitchcock innovando, la primera película sonora del cine británico, además de ser la primera película doblada en tiempo real. El comienzo del maestro del suspenso.
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.
January 6, 2014
Flashes of future Hitchcock can be seen in Blackmail, his first talkie and the first talkie to be produced in Britain. Not only is the suspense towards the end typical Hitchcock but his camera work is brilliant and way ahead of the 20s. Uses of noir style shadow and beautifully shot tracking angles make this film rather impressive. One of the more interesting aspects of Blackmail is how it demonstrates Hitchcock's ambition. Half way through shooting, Hitch decided to make this film his first talkie. As a result the first 10-20 minutes of the film are silent. Another example of said ambition, Hitch also experimented with the way sound could be used in film. One of the more notable scenes in the movie is a casual conversation talking place at the breakfast table, most of the dialogue is inaudible babble with the one word to be understood being knife, the weapon used by the protagonist to murder her would be rapist. Again this was a technique well ahead of its time because of the relative inexperience of all directors in the use of sound and dialogue, all spent meticulous hours in the studio making sure every word could be heard perfectly. Never before had anyone considered that inaudible dialogue could help to get across a key word or theme. While no where near his best or most iconic, Blackmail is worth watching to see flashes of what would come from arguably the greatest director of all time.
July 12, 2013
My Favorite Suspense Film Is 1991's The Silence Of The Lambs.
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.
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