Rich and Strange (1931)
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Critic Reviews for Rich and Strange
And so it is: this early (1932) Hitchcock film shows more signs of the artist to come than any of his other British movies.
... a mature exploration of personal disappointment and longing for a fantasy that doesn't exist and an adult confrontation of wandering affections and romantic betrayal...
Audience Reviews for Rich and Strange
Early atypical Hitchcock. Be prepared to see me review more of this type of stuff during the rest of this year (early Hitch, but not exclusively atypical). Besides being atypical fare for Hitch storywise, this is a curious blend of ":talkie" and silent film, which makes sense given when it was released. Actually, it's more silent than "talkie", with spoken dialogue being used maybe only a quarter of the time. That's fine though, because it gives the film a unique flavor, especially if you're interested in early cinema.
The story is a romantic melodrama concerning a young working class couple who, after coming into an inheritance, decide to get a taste of the good life by going on a cruise. The trip tests their relationship though, with both man and wife being tempted to leave the other, and both having to learn the hard way that money doesn't always make life better.
What the film lacks in originality or depth it makes up for with style and a couple really cool sequences. The shipwreck scene in particular is neat, especially if you can give it a pass given the time the film was made. There's also a particularly great shock moment near the end that is as horrifying as it is darkly funny.
All in all, not bad, but not that great or interesting either. It's not a totally boring film, but there could have been some more really great sequences throughout to make it worth giving it a complete recommendation.
Very early Hitchcock, this one came from the Alfred Hitchcock Legends of Hollywood, which are 12 Public Domain Films by BCI, This is long before Hitchcock started producing great films. About a couple who are struggling to survive when a rich Uncle gives them all the money they need to travel and find happiness, what they find is each cheats on the other and lost there money along with there return voyage ending in a sinking at sea, but they survive only to go back to London to have what they started with, Nothing. This one was made between silent films and Sound and this movie has some of both in it. 2 Stars
Rich and Strange really is not very good at all. But it does have a couple of exciting Hitchcockian sequences. The visual story telling of the opening scenes is typical Hitch and is clever and very funny. Also the ship sinking sequence is an early example of his mastery of suspense: Filmed entirely from inside the cabin, he wrings out the claustrophobic panic of our heroes - the panicky pandemonium of the passengers is only heard, the sea bubbling outside the port-hole then the lights go out as water seeps through the bottom of the door. It's a rather dark, quite moving and spooky sequence in what is an otherwise upbeat and rather clunkingly bad film.
The film is also rather gently subversive (for it's time at least) in the sense that Emily (Joan Barry) is very much in charge here. And during and after the ship sequence she takes on what is typically the man's role, that of the protector, because her husband, Fred (Henry Kendall) is actually rather a weakling. Add to this the fact that many commentators believe the leads are autobiographical of Hitch and Alma (they were great travelers and very much the naive innocents abroad - at one point even finding themselves at an orgy!). So maybe the Hitchcocks' are sending themselves up?
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