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Critic Reviews for Blackmail
A Teutonic experiment in ambiguity and an astringent comedy of wandering relationships, Alfred Hitchcock's first talkie offers scene upon scene of ingenious synergy of camera and meaning
It's a more than adequate though primitive murder mystery story that's enhanced by a series of marvelous technical innovations for its time.
Early British production by Hitchcock is entertaining.
Horrific and dated....worth seeing from a strictly historical standpoint.
Hitchcock's first talkie is still enjoyable if creaky.
Audience Reviews for Blackmail
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.
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.
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.
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