Monday, 30 June 2014

Capital Celluloid 2014 - Day 205: Fri Jul 25

Blackmail (Hitchcock, 1929): Walthamstow Assembly Hall, 7.30pm


Here is the Barbican introduction to the night's entertainment:
This year's Walthamstow Get Together series opens with a screening of Alfred Hitchcock's 1929 silent film Blackmail at the Walthamstow Assembly Hall.

The screening will be accompanied live by the Forest Philharmonic, conducted by Timothy Brock, performing the 2012 score written by Neil Brand, who will also introduce the evening.

Based on the play by Charles Bennett – who also collaborated with Hitchcock on The 39 Steps and The Man Who Knew Too Much – Blackmail (1929) is acknowledged as the first British sound feature film. Alice has stabbed to death a man who tried to rape her. Her boyfriend Frank, a policeman, covers it up; but Tracey, the local petty thief, tries to blackmail the couple. This leads to Tracey’s attempted arrest and a spectacular police chase which ends on the roof of the British Museum.

Get there early (from 5.30) for some great street food and drink from the Real Food Festivals. Hitchcock was notoriously fond of good food and drink and, in keeping with his East London roots, there will be street food trucks including Bell & Brisket (salt beef bagels), Born & Raised (British and East End themed pizzas) as well as Wondering Wine, a vintage Citroen H Van wine bar – particularly fitting as -like many of the characters in his film- Alfred Hitchcock was always partial to a good drink too...


Chicago Reader:
Alfred Hitchcock's 1929 masterpiece, his last silent, follows the plight of a murderer caught between her blackmailer and her detective boyfriend. For all the experimental interest of the sound version that followed (the first full-length talkie released in England), this is more fluid and accomplished. Apart from two suspenseful set pieces—an attempted date rape in an artist's studio that ends with the murder of the artist-rapist, and a chase through the British Museum, Hitchcock's first giddy desecration of a national monument—what most impresses is the masterful movement back and forth between subjective and objective modes of storytelling, as well as the pungent uses of diverse London settings. As someone who's always preferred Lang's treatment of serial killers to Hitchcock's, I would opt for this thriller over the much better known The Lodger as Hitchcock's best silent picture, rivaled only by his less characteristic but formally inventive The Ring.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here is the famous murder scene.

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