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.