The Ring - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Ring Reviews

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March 1, 2017
This silent feature from Hitchcock shows the Master developing his craft. There is a tremendous focus on advancing the language of film, through montage, superimposition, and other experiments. The story itself is not too exciting - a young boxer loses his wife to the champ but works his way up to the title bout and wins her back. I think I made that sound more exciting than it really is but Hitch's technique does add some suspense to the proceedings, even if this film is not even close to his later films in that (suspense) genre. Still, there is no denying that Hitchcock had talent even then and was developing with each picture, even if he wouldn't really hit his stride until the coming of sound and the Gaumont British pictures.
½ July 10, 2015
Hitchcock's fifth film, a beautiful drama/romance.
½ May 28, 2015
Hitch really hated women didn't he? There are some nice visual flourishes and the opening half an hour or so of this is really good and pretty funny. It's probably the best silent effort so far I've seen of his, but still nowhere near the films he was to produce in his later career.
½ September 3, 2014
One of the interesting things about watching Hitchcock's earliest films is that they are so different from the films he is known for. This isn't a thriller or a horror film, it is a straight drama. It features a character called "One Round Jack" who works as a circus boxer with the schtick of never going longer than one round in the ring. But then he meets his match (who lasts several rounds before actually winning), a guy who happens to have an eye for Jack's gal. It creates a little love triangle as she starts to see something in the guy while marrying Jack. It isn't great cinema...and it is somewhat dull and dated, and there are definitely better films in this genre, better silent films, and vastly better Hitchcock films.
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
½ March 5, 2014
Huh, and here I thought that Gore Verbinski's "The Ring" was a remake of some Japanese film from 1998, yet apparently its source material goes all the way back to... before they had commercial televisions for ghost girls to crawl out of. Wow, I knew that Alfred Hitchcock was an innovative horror director, but he must have given a couple of people a heart attack in the 1920s, not so much with the ghost girl, but with videos that you could actually watch in your own home. ...So yeah, in case you haven't figured it out yet, folks, either I'm kidding, or "The Ring" really was quite the loose remake, because if you're expecting this to be the natural progression for Hitchcock after the nail-bitingly intense "The Lodger: The Story of London Fog", then, well, you're probably right, because "The Lodger" wasn't too much more exciting than sports. Well, the sport featured in this non-horror drama is, as the title suggests, boxing, which is a lot more interesting than a lot of other sports, so it seems as though Hitchcock even had to bring some intensity to the athletic flicks that he must not have gone on to take the pointers of. Man, the boy got so fat that, um, I don't know, he got too lazy to single-handedly write his own original screenplays. It is interesting how Hitchcock didn't make it that far into his long career as a filmmaker before, if you will, "tapping out" as a sole screenwriter, but if this was to be his only original script, it's about a decent as it can be, considering that silence limits it, and your investment with it.

While Alfred Hitchcock's more dramatic and, if you will, human answer to the, at least at a time, suspenseful "The Lodger", this film may be even less talkative than its predecessor, and a lack of dialogue that is important enough to be set in intertitles dilutes a sense of urgency and distances you, even though your investment was always to be loosened by the silence. Natural technical shortcomings limit engagement value something fierce, and to make matters worse, this film's story concept has its own natural shortcomings, being reasonably interesting and whatnot, yet thin in conflict and sparse in momentum. Just like oh so many of its fellow silent opuses of feature cinema's earlier years, this film is held back by its simply being simple, no matter how much the telling of a such a thin story entertains, at least until pacing issues ensue. In addition to an uneven usage of dialogue, Hitchcock's script also boasts inconsistencies in pacing, managing to squeeze an almost 90-minute runtime out of the interpretation of a thin narrative through some excess in material, while also driving some inconsistencies into tone by incorporating many an overly comical, or at least fluffy touch which breaks relative seriousness. Of course, I strongly stress "relative" when describing the film's seriousness, because yet another classic silent flick flaw is, of course, cheesiness, deriving from anything from hammy humor to subtlety issues which further keep you from getting attached to the narrative that they seem to beg you to be engaged by. Yeah, there's ultimately not much to talk about here, with even the problems being primarily unavoidable, yet that doesn't make them any less problematic, securing the final product as yet another forgettable piece of filler from the silent film era, despite its having such an important name attached to it. Regardless, while the film has your attention, it never lets it slip so far that the final product plummets into mediocrity, doing what it can with such a thin filmmaking style and, for that matter, story concept.

Thin to begin with, and simplified further for silent flick viewers of the time, this drama's story concept is lacking in meat, and even mighty histrionic, yet as the ballad of rival boxers and, yes, even a love triangle, it's an interesting idea, so much so to set up a certain immediate intrigue, expanded upon by a fair execution. Alfred Hitchcock, as screenwriter, can only do so much with his interpretation of subject matter so thin, and a lack of both dialogue and consistency in pacing and tone further settle momentum, but there are some clever set pieces, backed by engaging characterization that is done more justice by the performances, which, quite frankly, have aged pretty well, rarely, if ever devolving into the usual hammy over-expressiveness that, at least in this day and age, takes you out of the human depths which were always to be limited in a film without voices. Make no mistake, the film still gets kind of cheesy, but the feeling of charisma and chemistry that is projected with genuineness from most every member of this cast engages through all of the quietness, providing some visual compliments to the narrative's effectiveness which go with the audible compliments. Yes, people, I did just boast about audible compliments, as the score composed by Xavier Berthelot, while formulaic, never abates on much classical energy that, no matter how its interpreted, drives much of the tone and, for that matter entertainment value of this film. The film's musicality certainly looks good on paper, and it's hard to not find a solid interpretation, and speaking of stylistic elements that look good, Jack E. Cox's cinematography, while worn down through the years, does effective justice to Hitchcock's classic tastes in very subtly sparse lighting, and tastes in framing that is broad enough to give you a feel for the environment, but tight enough for you to get a feel on the more intimate intensity. Really, it's Hitchcock's directorial tastes that may very well most secure the final product's engagement value, which is limited, sure, partly by some of Hitchcock's dated touches, even as a director, yet reinforced by the aforementioned attention to subtle visual intensity, as well as other relatively subtle storytelling touches that steadily draw you into the depths of this film and compel with only so much material. Surely, the lack of material really does damage on the film, but Hitchcock does what he can with what he's given, and he ultimately puts up a solid enough fight as storyteller to keep you intrigued, if not entertained, more often than not, even if most every strength is met by issues.

When the match is done, the natural limitations one might expect from a silent film and this premise go stressed by inconsistencies in pacing and tone, as well as by cheesy elements, until the film stands as yet another forgettable silent piece, whose narrative intrigue is done enough justice by decent scripting, acting, scoring, filming and direction to make Alfred Hitchcock's "The Ring" a reasonably intriguing silent drama, despite the shortcomings.

2.5/5 - Fair
February 6, 2014
More drama than suspense, it only suffers from the legacy known as Hitchcock's thrillers. While the film does have some thrilling moments, the story is slow paced and mindful, with few twists and interests. Nothing necessarily bad though.
½ January 11, 2014
The plot (two boxers spar for the same woman) was old even in 1927.
January 1, 2014
Hitchcock's brilliance in revealed in this early film - his eye for framing, symbolism, segue, and visual story-telling is on full display. One element that stands out from his contemporaries, was his sparse use of title cards to explain what the characters were saying. There are many conversations on film that are either reduced to one line title cards, or given no explanation at all - thus revealing how Hitchcock tells a story beyond dialog, and allows the images to speak much louder than words.
½ September 2, 2013
The AFI Silver Theater in Silver Spring, Maryland is running nine of Alfred Hitchcock's silent films - yes, he goes back that far - so this weekend I wandered over there to watch The Ring, a comedy about a love triangle between two boxers and, well, a girl. Ah, you might think, but silent movies in a theater? Sort of boring! Here's the catch: there was a live, honest-to-goodness orchestra, the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra.
You see, back in the days of silent movies, something was needed to keep the audience focused, not unlike today, because even title cards can set so much of the mood. Some theaters would have an orchestra that would play what amounted to mood music depending on the screen, stopping when a reel needed to be changed and for the inevitable intermission. Sometimes these orchestras had set hours, since they played for several movies and on a weekly basis, and a piano player would then step in for a bit. The music was typically chosen from a stock set of pieces, perhaps something jangly for a carnival scene, ominous for a villain's appearance, soaring for a hero, and so on.

The Ring is not a movie that spends a lot of time on those descriptive title cards, so one needs to pay some attention (and, happily, the orchestra helps inform the audience with its selections). It's always amused me how a character can speak - soundlessly, of course - extensively, with no follow-up title card explain what in the world he or she said. That's where one's focus comes into play. Once you get the crux of the usually simple plot, you can guess at the meaning of the silent dialogue. And so it was with The Ring, a tale about a man named Bob who bests a carnival boxer named One-Round Jack, winning a bunch of money, a career as a boxer, and the heart of Jack's gal, The Girl. But Bob's no one-note villain. He's not really even a villain, for this isn't a good-versus-evil melodrama. It's happy, good-hearted fun, complete with circus freaks (check out the expression on the minister at the wedding when the Tallest Man and the Shortest Man both arrive, not to mention the Siamese Twins).

It may not be one of Hitch's best-known movies, but The Ring is very well shot, particularly for the time, with low-budget film manipulations yielding evocative effects. And it would be a few more years before Hitchcock made it big, but his burgeoning talent is already evident here.
½ September 1, 2013
I believe this is the fourth silent film that Alfred Hitchcock made & by now he was really getting the swing of things.

The story of 2 men fighting both physically in the boxing ring & mentally to obtain the affection of the one woman.

Filled with much of Hitchcock's early examples of tricky camera work & stylish direction. I really appreciate his silent films & he really knew how to tell a story so well cinematically. Although this isn't mega scary it is perfect example of his thriller elements sneaking in...
½ January 15, 2013
The Ring is a great concept and has some nice touches, but ultimately fails to make the audience invested. It is not clear who we are meant to root for or why we should support their decision, there is no sign of the master manipulator at work.
December 4, 2012
Malgre quelques trouvailles de mises en scenes plutot efficaces comme la surimpression des combats sur le visage de l'heroine, Le Masque de Cuir est un film oubliable, qu'on oubliera assez vite, tant par la vacuite d'un scenario commun que par l'interpretation pas forcement reussie des acteurs principaux. A voir pour les fans d'Hitchcock.
October 26, 2012
a very early and bad hitchcock film.
June 9, 2012
If there is a common criticism of Hitchcock's silent era work it's that much of it doesn't feel as distinctive as his later works would. This is quite inventive visually and does at least showcase his talent. The story is straightforward has heart and The Ring does at least show glimpses of the director that Hitchcock would become.
January 14, 2012
Basically the same as any other silent melodrama.
Super Reviewer
½ December 21, 2011
An early silent effort from Hitchcock that, like a fair amount of his early efforts, is another atypical work. The story this time around invovles a love triangle between two boxers named Jack and Bob and a woman named Nellie. Jack and Nellie are married, but their marriage is dull and flat, so she turns to Bob to get what Jack wasn't giving her. This naturally leads to conflict between the two men and, being boxers, that conflict comes to a head in the boxing locale the film is named after.

The plot is very thin, formulaic, and predictable, but it's retelling here is well played and, because of Hitch's touch, it's not the boring forgettable relic of days gone by it could have been. There's some good cinematogrpahy, neat camera tricks (some of which would be reused by Hitch later on), and some editing that's not half bad, although the transitions between the music tracks can be quite abrupt and jarring at times, and in need of some smoothing out. Despite that though, the msuic is actually quite amazing and really had me hooked into an otherwise so-so story. I know that music was vital to silent films, but even then, the music here just really sticks out for me and is what ultimately gives the film its strongest selling point (though the other positive stuff I mentioned contributes a lot as well).
August 23, 2011
It has great style, great cinematography, and great editing- and lacks a great story, great characters, and great performances.
½ May 23, 2011
Interesting story but it could be developed in a better way. Since it is a silent movie, the music is responsible to keep the suspense.
Super Reviewer
½ January 24, 2011
A pretty boring romantic drama about boxing and carnival folks and stuff like that. I expected at least a little more excitement from Hitchcock.
½ December 27, 2010
Alfred Hitchcock's THE RING [1927]; after his first attempt at directing film came to an abrupt end in the middle of the production, Alfred Hitchcock next few films would see his luck change as a successful director. His first major hit was THE LODGER; A STORY OF THE LONDON FOG [1926] which just happens to be Hitchcock's first thriller (the genre he would soon become the master of), soon to follow were films like DOWNHILL ,EASY VIRTUE and THE RING which were all released in 1927. The Ring is a unique early Hitchcock film due to it being a non-thriller about a love triangle between two rival boxers and a ticket girl.

The Plot: 'One Round' Jack Sanders is a travelling boxer in a sideshow of a carnival, who has a record of knocking out brave men from the audience in one round. One day a boxing champ called Bob challenges Jack who loses the fight to Bob, before too long Jack marries the Ticket girl of the Boxing attraction and starts a professional boxing carrer. But before too long a rivalry grows amongst Bob and Jack over the affections of jacks wife.

The ring was both written and directed by Hitchcock and quite simply it's a typical love triangle drama. But since it's a slice of the origins of Hitchcock's masterful direction and storytelling, The Ring demonstrates why the romantic myth of Hitchcock being a silent filmmaker at heart is true. If one was to turn off the sound on a later film of Hitchcock's later Hollywood Sound masterpieces, the viewer would still understand what's going on due to the body langue of the actors.

As a whole the ring is a good film from Hitchcock's early British-Silent-Era, the score on the tomatometer for me is a definite 70%
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