Rich and Strange

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Reviews Counted: 10

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Average Rating: 2.9/5

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Movie Info

This atypical Alfred Hitchcock effort is a cautionary fable which lends credence to the old saw "Love flies out the door when money flies in the window." Joan Barry and Henry Kendall play a young married couple who suddenly come into an inheritance. Bored with their working-class existence, hero and heroine embark upon a world cruise, and it isn't long before Barry gets romantically involved with a landed-gentry gentleman. Meanwhile, Kendall is swept off his feet by a phony princess, who tricks him out of all his money. Broke and miserable, Barry and Kendall head home on a shabby cargo boat, only to find themselves in the middle of a shipwreck. The couple is rescued by a Chinese junk, where the solemn crew members dine on their pet cat. By the time Barry and Kendall have returned to their humble suburban lodgings, they've both learned the sagacity of remaining in their own back yard. Partly a sophisticated sex comedy, partly a grim seafaring melodrama, Rich and Strange had the negative effect of confusing the public in general and Hitchcock's fans in particular, and as a result the film, which remains one of Hitch's best early talkies, died at the box office.

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Henry Kendall
as Fred Hill
Joan Barry
as Emily Hill
Betty Amann
as The Princess
Percy Marmont
as Commander Gordon
Elsie Randolph
as Miss Imery
Hannah Jones
as Mrs. Porter
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Critic Reviews for Rich and Strange

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (1)

Audience Reviews for Rich and Strange

Early atypical Hitchcock. Be prepared to see me review more of this type of stuff during the rest of this year (early Hitch, but not exclusively atypical). Besides being atypical fare for Hitch storywise, this is a curious blend of ":talkie" and silent film, which makes sense given when it was released. Actually, it's more silent than "talkie", with spoken dialogue being used maybe only a quarter of the time. That's fine though, because it gives the film a unique flavor, especially if you're interested in early cinema. The story is a romantic melodrama concerning a young working class couple who, after coming into an inheritance, decide to get a taste of the good life by going on a cruise. The trip tests their relationship though, with both man and wife being tempted to leave the other, and both having to learn the hard way that money doesn't always make life better. What the film lacks in originality or depth it makes up for with style and a couple really cool sequences. The shipwreck scene in particular is neat, especially if you can give it a pass given the time the film was made. There's also a particularly great shock moment near the end that is as horrifying as it is darkly funny. All in all, not bad, but not that great or interesting either. It's not a totally boring film, but there could have been some more really great sequences throughout to make it worth giving it a complete recommendation.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Very early Hitchcock, this one came from the Alfred Hitchcock Legends of Hollywood, which are 12 Public Domain Films by BCI, This is long before Hitchcock started producing great films. About a couple who are struggling to survive when a rich Uncle gives them all the money they need to travel and find happiness, what they find is each cheats on the other and lost there money along with there return voyage ending in a sinking at sea, but they survive only to go back to London to have what they started with, Nothing. This one was made between silent films and Sound and this movie has some of both in it. 2 Stars

Bruce Bruce
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

Rich and Strange really is not very good at all. But it does have a couple of exciting Hitchcockian sequences. The visual story telling of the opening scenes is typical Hitch and is clever and very funny. Also the ship sinking sequence is an early example of his mastery of suspense: Filmed entirely from inside the cabin, he wrings out the claustrophobic panic of our heroes - the panicky pandemonium of the passengers is only heard, the sea bubbling outside the port-hole then the lights go out as water seeps through the bottom of the door. It's a rather dark, quite moving and spooky sequence in what is an otherwise upbeat and rather clunkingly bad film. The film is also rather gently subversive (for it's time at least) in the sense that Emily (Joan Barry) is very much in charge here. And during and after the ship sequence she takes on what is typically the man's role, that of the protector, because her husband, Fred (Henry Kendall) is actually rather a weakling. Add to this the fact that many commentators believe the leads are autobiographical of Hitch and Alma (they were great travelers and very much the naive innocents abroad - at one point even finding themselves at an orgy!). So maybe the Hitchcocks' are sending themselves up?

This 1931 movie is of interest simply because it is one of Alfred Hitchcock's early films that he made in Great Britain. It is also of interest because of the titles between sections of this film as though it were a silent film. That makes us very aware that silent movies had just been replace by 'talkies'. The copyright date is shown as 1931 on the film, not 1932 as IMDB has it listed. A man whose life has become mundane and tiresome is given money by a relative to enjoy life with. He and his wife set off on a cruise around the world. "Rich and Strange" begins well and certainly has its interesting moments. However, it bogs down after about the first half hour and doesn't recover until the last few minutes. Far too much time is spent aimlessly following the relationships outside the marriage by both the husband and wife of the couple. It seems that this part of the film is overblown. A highlight of the film is the spinster played by Elsie Randolph who is quite hilarious. Joan Barry is also very watchable as Emily. However, "Hitch" had not quite hit his stride yet and his best work was yet to come. This movie is mainly for diehard Hitchock fans.

Cassandra Maples
Cassandra Maples

Super Reviewer

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