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Blackmail Reviews

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kenscheck
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.
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.
June 21, 2014
This is another one of Hitchcock's early works. I thought it was a silent movie but it's really a very early talkie. A cop's girlfriend stabs a man who was going to rape her and they're met by a two-bit criminal who plans to blackmail them. I must say as I was watching this film, I can't help but see all the foreshadowing of the greatness that is to come with his visual motifs and plot elements. It's not my favorite Hitchcock but it's still an excellent film. You can definitely see his star rising in this one.
February 23, 2014
Techniquement, Blackmail est un film indispensable pour les fans d'Alfred Hitchcock dans la mesure ou c'est son premier film parlant. Malheureusement, pour tout le reste, Blackmail est tres dispensable dans la mesure ou le film n'est ni rellement passionnant, ni franchement divertissant. Le film est trop long, les acteurs sont bons, la mise en scene passe-partout et la musique repetitive. Juste pour les inities.
February 21, 2014
If you can, skip the sound version and go for the silent version. It's arguably Hitchcock's best silent film and something close to a masterpiece, not only for some well-crafted set pieces but also for the complex moral explorations that make his work endlessly fascinating.
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.
September 25, 2013
A beautiful blonde is involved in a murder when she is trying to escape from being raped. His boyfriend detective knows the truth and tries his best to cover with it, only being blackmailed by an avaricious meddler. Despite enough suspense created, the film is not very enjoyable.
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.
filmlover1994
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.
KevinRobbins
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?"
"Yes."

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.
February 10, 2013
Starts off a bit slow, but gets better as it moves along. There are some interesting twists in the story, along with some legitimate and ironically fitting humor, building up to a rather strong ending. The story seems a bit absurd to a modern viewer in one regard, but I know nothing about the legal system of Britain almost 100 years ago. All things considered, I liked it.
January 28, 2013
Excellent early Hitchcock in his classic trademark style.
January 21, 2013
Definitely a novelty at the time being the first British talkie, Blackmail doesn't really do much for the audience in terms of a truly compelling story or characters except for some typical Hitchcock psychology with the female lead and some good cinematography. Really when it comes down to it this film was meant to show off talking pictures and doesn't stand the test of time all too well
December 23, 2012
A little hard to understand at first because of the sound quality, but worth the effort.
May 9, 2008
Average Hitchcock film that has a few good tense moments, but tends to drag, especially in the middle.
Movie Matthew 101
October 27, 2012
Alfred Hitchcock was a masterful, artistic, unique director. If a talkie from 1929 is still eagerly watched by millions, and is 89%, I'll give it a shot.
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