Blackmail - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Blackmail Reviews

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½ June 6, 2016
Blackmail is a solid, but incredibly flawed movie. The cinematography is splendid as is its score, the movie looks really good and is quite atmospheric, its first half is really well crafted and some scenes are so memorable, but the second half is disappointing with a very problematic ending, the dubbing of Anny Ondra's voice led to an awkward performance and her character is a very idiotic one. It is an entertaining and solid film, but unfortunately plagued by those annoying problems.
March 19, 2016
This film was Hitchcock's first talkie picture from 1929. It started as a silent film, and during production, with the advent of sound, they switched and made it a sound picture. You can see Hitch's stylistic flourish here, there's even a shot at the top of a staircase looking down like in "Vertigo". This film is worth watching for Hitchcock fans for sure.
½ February 20, 2016
An early talkie feels like one of Hitchcock's most experimental films; trying out many new visual flourishes and revelling in the use of sound, mostly in subtle and successful ways. From this playing around a partial blueprint for his later works emerges (such as an exciting climax in an iconic location), unfortunately the story gets overlooked in all this; the plot is under-developed and the pacing is off. This robs a lot of what Blackmail could have been with such a good concept. As it stands it is a great success in terms of developing sound films, but as a thriller it's neither so inventive nor so engaging.
January 11, 2016
considering when it was made, it's no surprise that it plays more like a play than a film. While the pacing is awkward, the story has just enough shock value and fun to make it worthwhile.
½ November 23, 2015
Quite slow and non-inventive, especially from Hitchcock! but he was young & learning - and you can definitely notice the sounds issues still. Nothing exciting happens and the 'murder' is very easily explained and the ending is poor.
November 21, 2015
Pretty good early Hitchcock. The story is suspenseful and I was surprised that such an early film portrayed attempted sexual assault so obviously. I would have thought that would be taboo at the time. It is also notable for being the first British "talkie."
½ June 7, 2015
These Hitchcock silent films are basically all the same! A bit tedious but with cracking Directorial visuals, oh wait this one isn't a silent...except it sort of is... These better start improving soon!
½ April 28, 2015
Pretty edgy for 1929
½ October 12, 2014
My personal favorite of his early work.
½ September 3, 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.
½ 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.
½ 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.
½ 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.
½ 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.
½ 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.
November 7, 2013
Originally a silent pic, parts were reshot to become the first Brit talkie. As a mishmash of the two, it really carries itself better than I thought.
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.
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