Stage Fright - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Stage Fright Reviews

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March 26, 2016
likeable musical horror. a staging of a musical10 years after her mother's brutal murder puts her own and others lives at risk as the murders continue....
February 20, 2016
A pedestrian entry in Hitchcock's oeuvre; it's full of twists of situation that get the protagonist playing dual roles in the wrong place at the wrong time, which could be played for suspense or for laughs, but neither is capitalised on. All in all there's not much drama here besides the conceit of the heroine and villainess both being employed as actors (one Hitchcock repeats from Murder! with barely improved results). There's some entertainment from the latter's scenery-chewing, but it ruins any sense of believability.
½ September 29, 2015
One of Hitchcock's lesser known films. It is surprisingly engaging, helped a long greatly by the master's tight direction and a stunnning Marelene Dietrich. There are some nice twists and a few unintentional laughs, but overall it's not bad.
September 7, 2015
Alfred Hitchcock consideró haber cometido un error crucial en esta película. Dicho "error" no se puede revelar aquí, pero lo que sí se puede decir es que "Stage Fright" es una película entretenida de principio a fin en la que Hitchcock utiliza a la figura del actor para mostrarnos un mundo falso que esconde verdades oscuras. Los orígenes de Norman Bates se encuentran aquí, los personajes secundarios son los principales y Marlene Dietrich es inigualable interpretando a la mujer fatal.
August 27, 2015
This is a lesser known Hitchcock film and perhaps because it doesn't have that hook or catchy plot line that many of his other films have, but it's well deserving to be rated among his best. He definitely relishes having Dietrich in the film and uses her persona to the max to strengthen the character and the plot. His use of lighting is particularly notable here. There was much debate about the false flashback that is used in the film, and while it might have been controversial back then, it seems to work now.
August 22, 2015
finally spotted Hitchcock in this one
½ January 20, 2015
Adorable Jane Wyman.
½ September 3, 2014
Hitchcock directs this story of a naive young actress who wants to help the man of her affections, despite the fact that he is accused of murdering his other girlfriend's husband and is on the run. The film is a decent Hitchcock thriller, but it isn't his strongest effort nor his most memorable. It is decent enough, but I doubt it goes down as many people's favorite of the filmmaker's body of work.
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
March 17, 2014
Hm, well, it's an Alfred Hitchcock film that is ever so subtly titled "Stage Fright", so do you reckon that this is some kind of a thriller or something? Jeez, I don't know, because British storytelling is so dry that it's sometimes hard to tell if you're supposed to be scared or amused. I think that this film has its comedic occasions... or its intense occasions, I can't tell, because, make no bones about, this film is British something fierce, ostensibly to commemorate Hitchcock's return to the London soundstage. I'd say that celebrations had to have been in order in 1950, but the man was in Hollywood for less than fifteen years, and at any rate, after "Jamaica Inn", I'm wondering if Britain really wanted him back. Well, looking at the money that Hitchcock made before his major decade of the '50s in Hollywood, I'm betting Britain was glad to get those pounds back on, both in the British monetary sense and, of course, in the American weight sense. I don't know, maybe people were just too excited to get the big boy back, because, quite frankly, if this is what the Brits were fearing after "Jamaica Inn", then I can see what shook them up. Yeah, this isn't exactly an impressive homecoming for Hitchcock, but it could be worse, having its share of strengths.

The film is so lazy as an Alred Hitchcock film that even visual style feels under-inspired, but this is still Hitchcock we're talking about, and sure enough, the visual style, anchored by Wilkie Cooper's cinematography, offers often effectively near-bleak lighting and solid framing that immerses, at least aesthetically. What further immerses is the acting, at least to a certain degree, as many performances fall flat, with the most notably underwhelming performance, of course, being by Jane Wyman, whose unconvincing English accent and other areas of line delivery, and empty charisma craft a mediocre lead who is therefore instrumental in the final product's own mediocrity, yet there are certain colorful supporting performances that are genuinely worth remembering. Well, not even the relatively decent performances are all that inspired, but what the film lacks in an endearing lead it all but makes up for with an endearing supporting cast, just as the story has enough intriguing ideas to all but make up for the fall-flat aspects. Make no bones about it, the flat attributes of the drama are plentiful, or at least seem to be, given that the execution is so flat, but on paper, with layers of humor, mystery and human intrigue, this is a fairly interesting narrative idea that is sometimes done genuine justice by highlights in the writing, however limited, and by highlights in direction, however, well, limited. Yes, by 1950, alone, Hitchcock has established himself as quite the talented filmmaker, especially during his time in Hollywood, but here, his directorial performance is either so under-inspired or so autopilot that it bores on the whole, and yet, Hitchcock's tired directorial performance could see only so much juice washed out, so, of course, there are times in which Hitchcock's dryly thoughtful direction proves to be effective in drawing on subtle touches in this mostly overblown affair. Really, the strengths are a struggle to discuss at length, as they are just so limited, yet they are there, prominent enough to be kind of charming in their efforts, almost to the point of endearing you to the final product enough to find a pretty decent effort. Of course, on the whole, the film surprisingly falls flat, having potential that Hitchcock just couldn't do as much justice as he did with most of his projects, even when it comes to the thrills.

Again, Alfred Hitchcock has occasions of effectiveness when it comes to drawing on the film's layered tone, but on the whole, there's something lazy about Hitchcock's directorial approach to this thriller, resulting in a general flatness that is not helped by tonal inconsistencies, for although the flat tone settles a sense of tonal dynamicity and, by extension, unevenness, Whitfield Cook's and Ranald MacDougall's script tends to jar in its leaps between telling a juicy mystery tale and telling a lighthearted fluff piece. Of course, momentum-shaking unevenness does not only rest in the tone, because in structural pacing, the film is all but all over the place, brushing over certain areas in key development, but mostly dragging its feet with meandering, perhaps even repetitious excess in storytelling that, when backed by atmospheric flat spells, dull things down something fierce. Indeed, people, a heavy blow dealt to this film comes from dullness, because when Hitchcock's thoughtfulness runs out of material, things dry like a bone, and make no mistake, material is awfully lacking in this aimless thriller, and made bland enough on its sheer familiarity. When I say that this is a very formulaic Hitchcock effort, I really do mean that this film is trite, and not just as a Hitchcock effort, being ostensibly driven by its mystery, which is shaken by the overwhelming predictability which reinforces a sense that this film's storytelling has nothing new to say, and is apparently aware of that, to where it barely bothers saying anything all that extensively at all. Characterization is there, even if developmental shortcomings limit them, but there's something so empty about it, so even as a character drama, this film is flat, as surely as it falls flat as a fluff piece and thriller, at least when it backs all forms of storytelling with improbability. Perhaps the film's dramatic core could have stood a more solid chance of proving effective if it wasn't so blasted histrionic, on top of flat in momentum, being bloated with melodramatics that are sometimes near-embarrassing and consistently distancing, with a certain cheesiness that further reflects the laziness which does the final product's decency. Again, there's enough charm to the inspired areas in this film for the final product to be almost saved as fair, but at the same time, the lazy areas frustrate, and are ultimately most recurring, boring and distancing you until the final product finally sputters out as mediocre, despite its promising spots.

Once the curtain has fallen, the film all but ascends to decency on the back of intriguing story concept aspects that is done justice by handsome cinematography and highlights in acting and direction, yet under the overwhelming weight of distancing tonal and pacing unevenness, a mostly cold atmosphere, shameless conventions, empty characterization and, of course, aggravatingly disingenuous melodramatics, Alfred Hitchcock's "Stage Fright" falls flat as a sometimes charming, but mostly mediocre misfire for Hitchcock's return to British cinema.

2.25/5 - Mediocre
½ December 31, 2013
Inexcusably bad. This movie came out in 1950, but feels like a terrible film from the thirties. I could barely keep my eyes open. A Hitchcock movie should not be putting you to sleep. (First and only viewing - November 2013)
December 28, 2013
A drama student at the Royal Academy is approached by an old friend, whom she loves, that pleads her to help him out of the accusations of a murder he did not commit. Great cast and good performances. But this is much less inspired than one would expect from a Hitchcock film, and most disappointingly, the lack of proper suspense almost reveals a lack of interest by the director who allows a few plot holes and implausibilities to plague the screenplay.
½ December 12, 2013
Just realised this is only rated G! Goes to show that you don't always need lots of violence/gore & swearing to make a murder-mystery! Starts off without showing you the actual murder or introducing any characters - you have to figure it out as it all falls into place. There's some blackmail, some misdirection, some undercover acting - as well as decent directing and a good score. Alastair Sim as Eve's Dad was great to watch too. Pretty good from Hitchcock - not his best, but pretty enjoyable.
November 25, 2013
I was SOOOO pissed the first time I saw this. I was like "how unfair, Mr. Hitchcock!" lol-won't give anymore away except to say think agatha christie's "The Murder of Roger Aykroyd" and you will get the idea. ending TOTALLY took me by surprise.
March 31, 2013
Not classic Hitch, this 1950 film did little to indicate that the decade would belong to Hitchcock. Jane Wyman is a bland lead, and the story is a cheat. With the famous "false" flashback. Thank God for Dietrich, Alistair Sim, and Pat Hitchcock. They give the movie what little life it has.
½ January 1, 2013
A struggling actress tries to help a friend prove his innocence when he's accused of murdering the husband of a high society entertainer.
November 29, 2012
Although Hitchcock called the false flashback a mistake, I thought it was pretty ingenius. Slow in parts but this film had a terrific twist ending.
½ September 22, 2012
This is Hitchcock's under-appreciated little gem, which makes great use of a device called 'false retrospection'. In this story of murder and theatre, there are many allusions to the movie's title. Jane Wyman's best performance, Marlene Dietrich is superb as the self-centered, bitchy star, and Alastair Sim won me over with his charismatic and laughable act as a helpful dad. Not Hitchock's best, but definitely a film worth seeing, due to its engaging plot, black humor, splendid art direction, and thrilling finale.
September 16, 2012
What could have been a major letdown by Hitch is lifted greatly by the antics of Alastair Sim. Hitchcock doesn't really excel much with this one at all. There are the ups and the downs.

The story starts with Jonathan Conner. He is on the run from the police after being spotted at the scene of a murder. He seeks refuge with is ex-girlfriend, Eve Gill. He insists he is innocent, that he was framed by Charlotte Inwood (Marlene Dietrich playing Marlene Dietrich.) Eve believes him and sets out do uncover the real murderer.

Jane Wyman plays Eve. She is perfectly adequate, nothing more. The reason to watch this movie though, is Alastair Sim as Eve's father. He steals absolutely every scene he's in. Sim, best known for playing Scrooge, is hilarious in this. A personal favorite scene is when he must put blood on a doll's dress. He thinks slitting his palm is the best way to get the blood. His smile slowly fades into a frown after the slit. Spot on reaction.

Overall, not very good, really. The ending has a nice twist, but a Hitchcock movie shouldn't have to ride completely on one performance, no matter how good the performance is.

"I never hope to be appreciated. Yes, your mother cured me of that. That's why I could never be bothered with your mother." 6.5/10
½ September 4, 2012
Awesome movie with a great twist ending!
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