HITCHCOCK'S ... MURDER!
After the trial was over, Sir John became troubled over the evidence and determined to initiate his own investigation into the crime. He had been on jury that delivered the guilty verdict and now he had a big problem with the fact the young lady who had been convicted testified she was unconscious when the murder occurred and didn't really know if she had done it or not. Since other witnesses had testified there had been a dispute over a male love interest between the suspect and the victim, the jury was adamant that she was indeed the guilty party. But, if she were truly guilty, why not simply say she had not done the crime and was somehow distracted when it happened. Sir John now began to feel strongly that a person who was that staunch in maintaining the truth, would not have committed a murder.
Herbert Marshal... Sir John Menier
Norah Baring...Diana Baring
Phyllis Konstam...Doucie Markham
Edward Chapman...Ted Markham
Miles Mander...Gordon Druce
Esme Percy...Handel Fane
Donald Calthrop...Ion Stewart
Esme V. Chaplin...Prosecuting Counsel
Amy Brandon Thomas...Defending Counsel (as Amy Brandon-Thomas)
Marie Wright...Miss Mitcham
Hannah Jones...Mrs Didsome
Una O'Connor...Mrs. Grogram
This is a delightful movie even today. It was Hitchcock's second “talkie” and he was still trying to fine tune his dramatic photographic skills. Even so, it is outstanding for its time and still to be envied by filmmakers today.
Two versions of the movie were made, one in English and the other in German. Since there was no technology about voice dubbing, Hitchcock decided to save the Studio some money, buy using the same sets and crew, without having to duplicate travel and lodging. He solved the problem by having to casts standing by on the same set. The scene was shot in English and then the German cast would take over the set and the German version was shot.
Not only did I enjoy the movie, but was amazed to remember home when the kitchen sinks were very simple and the faucets where simple pipes with valves, as would expert to find outside for garden hose use. In the beginning, the movie opens on a scene of chaos with neighbors looking out their windows and trying to determine where the noise and shouting was coming from, but when the lady in the next scene got out of bed and began to dress to go outside, it made me recall how women in family dressed when I was a child. She got up with her night gown on, but before she would go outside, so slipped on a half-slip, pulling it up under her night gown. With that firmly in place she picked up her knickers (we'd say panties) and slipped into them. Then when she put on her robe, she was ready to give the emergency her full attention. I had to smile, because that really rang a bell about modesty in previous generations.
Another anomaly for me was the element of “cross-dressing.” In the scenes around the theater and this was a movie centered around theatrical people, a number of parts for women were played by men and I think the reverse of that as well. I won't speculate so you can make the call for yourself. I do recall that in earlier times, women were not permitted to perform and men played all the parts, but that may have nothing to do with this.
If you haven't seen it, and I saw it for the first time today, I think you'll enjoy it not only for a good yarn, well spun, but for the historical significance Hitchcock had on the film industry. I hope the video slide-show will give you a feel and mood for the movie and I think the images will speak for themselves as they unravel in fairly good sequence.
Herbert Marshall was forty years old when he played the part of Sir John and went on to play parts in some real masterpieces. Check it out, Wikipedia is a wealth of detailed information.
Here's the link to the video slide-show.