The Manxman (1929) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Manxman (1929)

The Manxman (1929)

The Manxman




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Manxman Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Although he was established as a master of suspense by 1929, Alfred Hitchcock was still under contract to British International Pictures, and thus still obliged to direct everything his studio chose for him. Hitch's last silent film was The Manxman, a "romantic triangle" imbroglio based on a novel by Hall Caine. Filmed on location in the Isle of Man, the story concerns a local fisherman named Pete (Carl Brisson), a law student named Philip (Malcolm Keen), and a beautiful village girl named Kate (played by German actress Anny Ondra). When Pete is reported drowned, Kate turns to Philip for solace and sexual gratification. By and by, Pete returns none the worse for wear. Never suspecting that Kate has been unfaithful to him, Pete marries the girl. Eventually she bears Philip's child, which of course Pete assumes is his. Unable to lie to her husband anymore, Kate attempts suicide, which according to the laws of the Island is a crime. Kate is brought before the judge, who happens to be her ex-lover Philip. Confronted with the truth by Kate's father (who has suspected all along that she and Philip have had an affair), Philip gives up his legal career to make an "honest woman" out of Kate. An unrelentingly dour film, The Manxman is nonetheless beautifully photographed by Jack Cox. Sensing that the film would not appeal to a mass audience, BIP withheld release of The Manxman until after the distribution of Hitchcock's first talkie, Blackmail. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovimore
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Romance, Mystery & Suspense, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Hall Caine, Eliot Stannard
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 29, 2005
LionsGate Entertainment


Carl Brisson
as Pete Quilliam
Malcolm Keen
as Philip Christian
Randle Ayrton
as Kate's Father
Clare Greet
as Her Mother
Kim Peacock
as Ross Christian
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Manxman

Critic Reviews for The Manxman

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (4)

It's no masterpiece, but it's certainly something to see: Hitchcock's early work is full of surprises, dramatic and stylistic.

Full Review… | March 20, 2012
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The Hall Caine novel from which this film was adapted is a weak one, but the director has done his best with it.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Filled with enchanting scenes and the story itself is quite well told.

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

A distinctly un-Hitchcockian melodrama.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Hitchcock's last silent, a veritable sonata of POV close-ups aimed straight at the camera

Full Review… | June 7, 2013

Hitchcock didn't like his ninth and last silent film, but for viewers who love his work, it bears some surprises, including subtle humor.

Full Review… | March 15, 2013

Audience Reviews for The Manxman


If he were still alive, then today, August 13, 2012 would be the day that Alfred Hitchcock turned 113. To celebrate, I watched and am now reviewing the final silent film of his career: 1929s The Manxman.

The story here, filmed on location on The Isle of Man, follows that of childhood friends Pete the fisherman and Philip the law student. They end up in a love triangle, both madlyattracted to village girl Kate. Pete ultimately wins her, but, after he is presumed lost/dead at sea, she begins things anew with Philip. Pete later turns up alive and unharmed, and marries Kate. She ends up pregnant, and conflicted over what to do, as the consequences may be dire.

Okay, so, storywise this isn't the most original film, and at the time Hitch, despite already establishing himself as The Master of Suspense, was still under contract with British International Pictures, and thus forced to do any picture they gave him, this being his final one for the silent era. It's dour, weepy, and a rather melodramatic romance movie, but it's fairly well played, decently acted, and gorgeously shot.

It has some thrilling moments, but this isn't really a thriller. It's just a nice, though not really upbeat love triangle tale. It's passable stuff, yet probably doesn't need to be 129 minutes, and definitely feels that long, if not longer. Still though, it's hard to rip on Hitch too much, and this is a must see for completists.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer


A pretty good silent melodrama from Hitchcock, it's sad and realistic, but some scenes are kind of boring and overly dramatic. Overall, it's a pretty good movie.

Aj V

Super Reviewer


Two men in a little fishing village both fall for the same flighty barmaid. The two men in question are life-long friends, one is a fisherman named "Pete", the other is Philip, a young lawyer come to petition on behalf of the fishermen in a territorial despute. After the girl's father rejects the fisherman as a suiter for his daughter (on the grounds that he's penniless), he decides to sail to Africa to find his fortune, and leaves his promised girl under the watch of his best friend, Philip. Philip's mother doesn't approve of him spending so much time with a "publican's daughter", especially when he could become a "deemster" (apparently what they call a judge on the Isle of Mann) and being seen with a girl so beneath him could ruin his career. Soon though, a telegram comes declaring Pete is (erroneously) dead, and Kate announces "we're free" as she embraces Philip. When they discover Pete isn't dead, the couple decide to cover up their romance, and even though Kate loves Philip, she decides to go through with her marriage to Pete. If this movie were to be made today, Pete would be considered a dope, and no one would be rooting for him to win the girl. For a silent picture, it's certainly verbose/word-heavy, and while it's typical "love triangle" stuff, it seems to glorify just how idiotic women can be sometimes (this dame's not content to ruin just one man's life, she has to go for two). I'll say this for "The Manxman", it's watchable, and no worse than the typical romances of today, but like I said, it exemplifies all the horrible, flighty traits I find so despicable in women.

Mr Awesome
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

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