1. Sign-up to become a member, and most of the ads you see will disappear. It only takes 30 seconds to sign up, so join the discussion today!
    Dismiss Notice

The Alfred Hitchcock Filmography - A Chronological viewing

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Nelson Au, Jan 26, 2019.

  1. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 1999
    Messages:
    14,966
    Likes Received:
    3,869
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Waltzes from vienna.

    Waltzes From Vienna
    1934
    80 minutes B&W
    Cast:
    Esmond Knight: Johann Strauss, The Younger
    Jesse Matthews: Rasi
    Edmund Gwenn: Johann Strauss, The Elder
    Fay Compton: Countess Helga von Stahl
    Frank Vosper: Prince Gustav
    Robert Hale: Ebezeder
    Marcus Barron: Drexter
    Charles Heslop: Valet
    Betty Huntley Wright: Lady’s Maid
    Sybil Grove: Madame Fouchett
    Adapted from the play by: Guy Bolton
    Written by: Alma Reville, A. M. Willner
    Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
    Production Studio: Gaumont British and Tom Arnold Films
    Viewing date: 3/16/19

    Waltzes From Vienna is a costume drama of the era when Johann Strauss Jr is starting out as a composer of waltzes. This I understand is the only musical that Hitchcock did and he did it between projects to remain busy. The film focuses on Johann Strauss Jr and the film starts off with a horse drawn wagon of firemen racing to a café run by Ebezeder that is on fire. In the room above the café we see Johann, called Schani by his friends apparently, playing one of his compositions on the piano with his girlfriend Resi. She is the daughter of Ebezeder. The music catches the attention of a Countess Helga von Stahl across the street at a dress shop. There are several ladies in the dress shop who model the dresses and they are also drawn to Johann and his music, they swoon over him as they peer out the windows.

    Also in the café is Leopold, the baker of the café who is also in love with Resi and climbs up the fireman’s ladder to rescue Resi who is oblivious to the fire below and he and Johann fight over who will save Resi. Leopold wins out. As he lowers her down the ladder, Resi’s long skirt is caught in the ladder and torn off. Embarrassed, Resi runs in the dress shop across the street. Johann follows her with the skirt. Upon entering, Johann stumbles amongst the models and manages to hand the skirt out and it gets to Resi. When he stumbles out of the ladies dressing room, he meets the Countess who is smitten by Schani and wants to commission him to compose a waltz for her. Resi moments later finds Schani with the Countess and is immediately jealous.

    Later we see Johann Strauss senior at a rehearsal with his orchestra, where Schani is one of the violin players. They have a fight as Junior criticizes Johann Senior’s music. Upon which Senior suggests Schani play one of his compositions. Senior criticizes it as rubbish. Schani then decides to quit and go ahead with the composition for the Countess. The Countess has even provided lyrics to go with the waltz.

    Schani’s excitement about this new freedom and commission is dampened by Resi who says if he wants to marry her, he has to give up his music and become a baker at the café. However, upon seeing the lyrics, Resi changes her mind and let’s Schani go ahead with the composition. Later, Ebezeder, who believes Schani wants to be a baker takes him downstairs in the café to see the bakery and kitchen, while there, the sounds and sights of the bakers tossing bread and the sounds of the machinery inspire the timing and notes of his composition. He runs out to finish the composition. The piece is The Blue Danube.

    Schani presents the music to the countess who is thrilled with the finished waltz and wants to have it published by her publisher friend, and premiere it. Resi unbeknownst to Schani takes a copy of the music and wants to show it to Johann Senior to convince him to read it and play it. He dismisses it as rubbish and Resi runs out of the rehearsal chamber. There she can hear the waltz being played in another chamber, and entering it she finds Schani and the countess. Resi is jealous that Schani had taken the composition, which she thought was written and dedicated to her, and played it for the Countess. This destroyed Schani’s enthusiasm for the piece and runs out the chamber to chase Resi.

    The rest of the film deals with the romantic triangle and how they work out the relationships and the release of the music in a climatic concert where the music is debuted with great fanfare.

    This movie surprised me on a couple of levels. It has the look of a lavish production. It’s a musical of sorts, or really a film about the music of Johann Strauss Junior. So it’s not the kind of material one associates with Hitchcock. It’s not a thriller and more like the material of his early silent films of complicated romantic relationships. It has several bits of humor and visual gags that help tell the story. It looks like it could have been made in the 1940’s as the style of make-up is not to locked into the 1930’s silent films era. The source material for this DVD was in much better shape then Number Seventeen, it surprised me how good it looked. It’s wasn’t perfect, but it was another reason why I thought it could have been made in the 1940’s.

    It was well acted and produced. I doubt it’s another title I’ll revisit unless a better version comes out. It’s an interesting film and I’m glad I had a chance to see it and to see another side of Hitchcock. From what I read, it wasn’t a film he felt was his better ones.

    Next up is the The Man Who Knew Too Much. It’s a title I’ve not seen before, only seeing the later James Stewart, Doris Day version, so I’m looking forward to it.
     
    benbess likes this.
  2. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 1999
    Messages:
    14,966
    Likes Received:
    3,869
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    The Man Who Knew Too Much 1934.

    The Man Who Knew Too Much
    1934
    75 minutes B&W
    Cast:
    Leslie Banks: Bob Lawrence
    Edna Best: Jill Lawrence
    Peter Lorre: Abbott
    Frank Vosper: Ramon
    Hugh Wakefield: Clive
    Nova Pibeam: Betty Lawrence
    Pierre Fresnay: Louis Bernard
    Cicely Oates: Nurse Agnes
    D. A. Clarke-Smith: Inspector Binstead
    George Curzon: Gibson
    Henry Oscar: Barbor, the Dentist
    Based on a story from a Bulldog Drummond book by: H.C. McNeile
    Written by: Charles Bennett and D. B. Wyndham-Lewis
    Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
    Production Studio: Gaumont-British Picture Corporation
    Viewing date: 3/23/19

    The Criterion Collection 643 blu ray. 2013

    I feel this is quite a milestone now to have completed viewing the Hitchcock films up to this point. Now moving past the early works and onto early Hitchcock that is developed more into what we know from later films. It is also a delight to move past the dodgy DVD releases of the silent films and early sound films back to a Criterion disc. This disc, like the Criterion discs for The Lodger and Downhill, is a very nice presentation and restoration.

    This is the first time I’ve seen the 1934 version of The Man Who Knew Too Much, so I was looking forward to seeing it verses the Hitchcock remake with James Stewart and Doris Day. I’d only seen that once some years ago. The film starts at St. Moritz where a winter sports competition is occurring. We meet the Lawrence family on vacation from Britain. The scene opens as a Frenchman is doing his ski jump competition. Betty Lawrence, Bob and Jill Lawrence’s daughter, is watching the ski jump too with her father and the dog she is carrying breaks loose and runs out into the ski field and Betty runs out to get the dog. This causes Louis Bernard, the ski jumper, to have to avoid hitting her on his run and falls near the by-standers including Bob Lawrence and a man we later learn is Abbott. As Louis gets up to brush off the snow, he gives Abbott a look. The fall has disqualified Louis and was his last jump for the day. Turns out that Bob and Betty have befriended Louis. They agree to get together for dinner and head over to meet Jill who is competing at a clay pigeon shooting competition. Jill has reached the finals and is shooting against Ramon. As Jill is about to shoot, the sound of a watch chime distracts her and she misses the clay pigeon. Ramon shoots next and hits the pigeon and wins. The chiming watch belongs to Abbott who is also there watching the competition besides Bob and Betty. Ramon meets Jill who congratulates his winning. This entire scene ends with good fun as Jill pretends to flirt and go off with Louis and Bob jokes with Ramon that his win has caused his wife to leave with another man.

    Later that night at the restuarant ballroom, Louis is dancing with Jill as they continue to flirt. Bob has a little fun and asks Betty for a partially knitted item on another table and ties the yarn to the back of Louis coat. The scene turns comedic as other dancers are tangled by the yarn as Louis and Jill are dancing. This distracts Louis and a bullet is shot through a large window and hits Louis in the chest. As he dies, he gives Jill a key and tells Jill to find a brush in his room and tells her not to tell anyone about it except the British Conciliate. She tells Bob and he goes to Louis room to find the brush with a hidden note in it. During the course of both Jill and Bob being interviewed with the police, Bob and Jill receive a note that their daughter has been abducted and that they are not to say a word of what they know or they will kill their daughter. Bob and Jill return to England and as they cannot involve the Police, Bob sets off to discover the truth of this all and find Betty.

    At their home, Bob and Jill learn from Louis’s boss, Gibson, that Louis was a spy and learned of an assassination that will occur to a foreign statesman and that if the Lawrence’s know about any information in the brush, they should turn it over. But Bob and Jill refuse as the criminals call them and reiterate that they are not to say what they know to the authorities and that Betty is safe for the moment. With the plainclothes police watching, Bob and Clive, the family friend, set out to find the criminals and Betty.

    As I really didn’t know what to expect with The Man Who Knew Too Much, this was a very entertaining film. There is action and humor and suspense of course. There is a major set piece at the Royal Albert Hall and the remake also has the same set-piece. However the main set-piece at the end was not in the remake. I was surprised how the set-piece starts and it ends with a very satisfying and logical end.

    The film is well cast with great performances from everyone. This is Peter Lorre’s first British film and he makes a strong iconic performance as Abbott, the head of the criminal organization who kidnapped Betty. He’s menacing as well as charming. I read his English wasn’t very good since he’s Hungarian. He’d been working in Germany and recently escaped from there when it was under Hitler rule. So he learned his lines phonetically.

    As I have learned over the past and learn more about the kinds of elements that became staples of Hitchcock films, I can see this film is a start of some of those elements. There is the mysterious crime or spy organization of a foreign power trying to cause a problem. There is the innocent man on the run. And the innocent Everyman involved in a much larger international intrigue. Though some of the earlier films such as Blackmail and Murder! does deal with the wrong man accused theme.

    I have not seen the remake in a couple of years. And I’d only seen it once. My initial reaction is the original is the better of the two. But I plan to rewatch the remake with this viewing still fresh in my mind. Though I think I’ll re-watch the original as it’s worth another view. I want to review some scenes and catch any dialogue I might have missed.

    I plan to view the films Lorre made with Bogart as well as I have the iconic Bogart films in the queue.
     
    Cineman, TravisR, benbess and 2 others like this.
  3. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 1999
    Messages:
    14,966
    Likes Received:
    3,869
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    The 39 Steps.

    The 39 Steps
    1935
    86 minutes B&W
    Cast:
    Robert Donat: Richard Hannay
    Madeleine Carroll: Pamela
    Lucie Mannheim: Annabella Smith
    Godfrey Tearle: Professor Jordan
    Peggy Ashcroft: Margaret, the crofter’s wife
    John Laurie: John, the crofter
    Helen Haye: Mrs. Louisa Jordan, the professor’s wife
    Frank Cellier Sheriff Watson
    Wylie Watson: Mr. Memory
    Gus McNaughton: Commercial Traveller
    Peggy Simpson: Maid
    Mathew Boulton: Fake Policeman
    Frederick Piper: Milkman
    Ivor Barnard: Political meeting Chairman
    Very loosely based on a novel called The Thirty-Nine Steps by: John Buchman
    Written by: Charles Bennett and Ian Hay
    Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
    Production Studio: Gaumont-British Picture Corporation
    Viewing date: 3/30/19

    The Criterion Collection 56 blu ray. 2012

    I’d seen The 39 Steps on VHS tape once at a party at someone else’s house so I didn’t really see it. There was one shot I remembered and that was it. This is the first true time I’ve seen it and like The Man Who Knew Too Much, it was another engrossing adventure. The films starts in England at a London Music Hall Theater where a memory expert called Mr. Memory is brought on to the stage. He asks the audience to ask for any facts to test his knowledge. This is met with cat calls and some serious questions which Mr. Memory correctly answers. Richard Hannay is in the audience and asks what is the distance between Winnipeg to Montreal. Mr. Memory tells the audience that the man must be from Canada. This establishes that Hannay is from Canada and we later learn he is in England for business. Mr. Memory correctly answers. Shortly there after, gunshots are heard in the audience and we see a pistol in the hands of someone, but we only see the gun. The audience is panicking and quickly running out of the theater. Amongst them is Hannay and a mysterious woman is clinging to him and asks to go to his home. Her name is Annabella Smith.

    Once at Hannay’s home, Annabella is acting suspicious and checks the front room before allowing Hannay to turn the lights on. After a drink, she reveals that she was the one who shot the gun in the theater as a ruse to escape the theater and needed Hannay’s help to find a place to hide. As Hannay prepares something for her to eat, she reveals she is a spy on the run from two assassins. She asks him if he knows what the 39 Steps is. She goes on to say that she's discovered a plot to steal vital British military secrets. The mastermind for this plot is a man who is missing the tip of his little finger. Hannay considers the tale, but goes to bed for the night. Later that night, Annabella comes into Hannay’s bedroom awakens him to warn him that he has to flee and gives him a map. She then collapses to reveal a knife in her back. The maps reveals the Scottish Highlands. There is an area circled on the map called Alt-na-Shellach and is near Killin.

    In the morning, Hannay looks out his window apartment down at the street and sees the same two men he saw the night before waiting for him to come out. In a humorous, but also tense, scene, Hannay escapes with the help of a milkman and heads for a train to Scotland. As he is escaping on the train, news of Annabella’s murder is headline news and Hannay is the main suspect. Hannay is now on the run not only from the assassins but the police as well. When the train stops in one town, the Police board the train and finds Hanney in the cabin and escapes out the outside door and climbs into the next cabin of a woman traveling alone. To avoid notice from the police outside the compartment window, he kisses the woman to fool the police. But the plan doesn’t work as she betrays the man as someone she doesn’t know to the police. Hannay has no choice and makes a run for it out the back of the train. Next follows Hannay’s attempts at get to Scotland. Later on Hannay runs into the same woman he kissed on the train in Scotland who is named Pamela. Through circumstances while on the run. They end up together and have to both be on the run.

    After thinking about the film overnight, I realized that North By Northwest has many similar elements and could be almost a remake. The 39 Steps was a really fun thriller. It was tight and got to the plot points without wasting a lot of time with unnecessary plots and situations. It has a lot of the great elements, innocent man on the run from the police for a murder he didn’t commit. A Maguffin called the 39 Steps. There is International intrigue and spy’s who are out to kill the innocent man. And he meets a blonde along the path towards to the Maguffin. I kept avoiding watching this in the past for some reason. Maybe that party had something to do with it.

    The Blu Ray from Criterion is another fine presentation of the film with a great looking image. And this film has a Hitchcock cameo I found rather easily very early on in the film.
     
    Cineman, Osato, TravisR and 3 others like this.
  4. benbess

    benbess Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    3,770
    Likes Received:
    2,133
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Real Name:
    Ben
    I agree!++

    I assume you have the Spoto book The Art of Alfred Hitchcock. If by any chance you don't, I recommend this classic and lavishly illustrated book. It's "formalist" and old fashioned, but otherwise very solid imho. I also recommend the more recent book Hitchcock and Philosophy: Dial M for Metaphysics, which is available as a kindle book (and since it doesn't have pix anyway, you don't lose anything).
     
    Osato likes this.
  5. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 1999
    Messages:
    14,966
    Likes Received:
    3,869
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Thanks Ben, I’m not aware of that book. It’s in my Amazon cart now. I also came across a title called: The Alfred Hitchcock Encyclopedia while looking for the Art Of Alfred Hitchcock. That one is much pricier! I’ll look for the Hitchcock and Philosophy book too.
     
    Osato and benbess like this.
  6. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Messages:
    20,782
    Likes Received:
    10,277
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Real Name:
    Matt Hough
    I was very privileged to get to review Criterion's Blu-ray release of The 39 Steps. Very pleased to have it in my collection in such a fine package. That review is here.
     
    benbess, Josh Steinberg and Osato like this.
  7. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 1999
    Messages:
    14,966
    Likes Received:
    3,869
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Thanks Matt. I just read your review, I skipped reading it probably so I’d see the movie blind. I appreciate how you and others are able to concisely cover the plot in a paragraph!

    Up until the 39 Steps, I had not realized that this is the first film with a cool a blond. I guess because the earlier films did have blonds too. But they were not quite the same as Pamela.
     
    Osato likes this.
  8. Message #68 of 309 Apr 15, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
    benbess

    benbess Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    3,770
    Likes Received:
    2,133
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Real Name:
    Ben
    If I had to pick just five movies from Hitchcock's British films, I think I'd go with The Lodger, The Man Who Knew Too Much, The 39 Steps, Sabotage, and The Lady Vanishes. But actually I think that as good as those movies are that Hitchcock's best Hollywood films are better.
     
    Josh Steinberg and Osato like this.
  9. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Messages:
    16,215
    Likes Received:
    18,991
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Real Name:
    Josh Steinberg
    I have a real soft spot for Lady Vanishes - there are better Hitchcock films but few that I enjoy as much.
     
    Osato and benbess like this.
  10. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 1999
    Messages:
    14,966
    Likes Received:
    3,869
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Secret Agent.

    Secret Agent
    1936
    86 minutes B&W
    Cast:
    John Gielgud: Edgar Brodie/Richard Ashenden
    Peter Lorrie: The General
    Madeleine Carroll: Elsa Carrington
    Robert Young: Robert Marvin
    Percy Marmont: Caypor
    Florence Kahn: Mrs. Caypor
    Charles Carson: “R”
    Lili Palmer: Lili
    Tom Helmore: Colonel Anderson
    Michael Redgrave: Army Captain
    Michael Rennie: Army Captain (uncredited)
    Loosely based on a novel called Ashenden by: W Somerset Maugham
    Written by: Charles Bennett and Alma Reville
    Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
    Production Studio: Gaumon- British International Picture Corporation

    Viewing date: 4/7/19

    Secret Agent starts off with a wake for a deceased British Officer, Captain Edgar Brodie. It is 1916 during World War 1. The truth is Brodie returns home on leave and sees his obituary and is taken to see someone named “R”. He asks Brodie if he would take on a secret mission to identify and eliminate an enemy German agent who is on his way to Arabia to cause trouble in the Middle East. Once he agrees to take on the mission, he is given a new identity, Richard Ashenden now that his true identity’s death is faked. He’s also told that he will have an assistant who is a killer named The General. He is played by Peter Lorrie in another scene stealing performance.

    Ashenden‘s late predecessor reported back that he thought the enemy agent was staying at the Excelsior hotel in Switzerland. So that is his first place he travels to investigate. There he signs into his hotel and finds that his “wife” has already signed in to their suite. It turns out “R” had sent Elsa along to pose as his wife. Ashenden finds that his wife, Elsa, is in the room and an admirer is there too, a fellow guest named Robert Marvin. As Ashenden enters and greets his wife, Marvin is only slightly put off. He continues to flirt with Elsa.

    The next day Ashwnden and the General go to meet a contact about who the enemy agent is in a church. They find him at the organ slumped over, murdered. In his hand, The General finds a coat button that they assume belonged to the killer. That evening Ashenden and The General goes to meet Elsa at the casino. Elsa is there with Marvin who continues to woo her. There at one of the games tables, Ashenden accidentally is bumped and drops the button on number 7. The croupier picks up the button and asked who it belongs to. A man looks at his jacket with the same kinds of buttons and says it must be his. Ashenden and the General look at each other and assume he’s who they are after.

    To say more I’d would think would give away too much of the fun. Watching this film, it struck me as one possible template for the James Bond film series. Many elements of this film appear in From Russia With Love and You Only Love Twice I thought. And of course just the basics of a character who is the agent’s boss who assigns the cases and other agents Ashenden meets along the way who are his associates. And Elsa would make a good Bond girl. John Gielgud who plays Ashenden even bears a resemblance to Hoagy Carmichael who is described as what James Bond looks like. Gielgud plays the character as a proper English gentleman. One more thing about the casting, it was a surprise to see a young Robert Young in this film! Well before Marcus Welby.

    This is a Hitchcock film, so there is the wrong man element, spies and intrigue and suspense.

    The source material of this film’s DVD was poor, the image was dark and audio while listenable, was still hard to understand at times. The dialogue is somewhat hard to follow, which dampened my enjoyment. This film is good, but I thought The 39 Steps and The Man Who Knew Too Much was better. I still thought about the film afterwards enough that if a better version comes along, I liked this film enough to double dip.

    I noticed comments on another thread that felt that Gielgud was miscast in this film. I don’t agree. I thought he was good. And I thought he had chemistry with Madeleine Carroll. This is an enjoyable film and I hope a better transfer for an HD version comes along soon.
     
  11. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 1999
    Messages:
    14,966
    Likes Received:
    3,869
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Sabotage US Poster.
    US poster art

    Sabotage
    (US title was The Woman Alone)
    1936
    76 minutes B&W
    Cast:
    Sylvia Sydney: Mrs. Verloc
    Oskar Homolka: Karl Anton Verloc
    Desmond Tester: Steve
    John Loder: Sergeant Ted Spencer
    Joyce Barbour: Renee
    Matthew Boulton: Superintendent Talbot
    SJ Warmington: Hollingshead
    William Dewhurst: The Professor
    Charles Hawtrey: Studious Youth
    Peter Bull: Michaelis (uncredited)
    Torin Thatcher: Yunct (uncredited)
    Loosely based on a novel called Secret Agent by: Joseph Conrad ( not related to the film Secret Agent or later film Saboteur)
    Written by: Charles Bennett
    Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
    Production Studio: Gaumont- British International Picture Corporation
    Viewing date: 4/13/19

    MGM Alfred Hitchcock Premiere Collection 8 Master Works, 2008 DVD boxset

    Sabotage starts off with a power failure in London and is quickly found that sand has been put into the boilers and is a deliberate act of sabotage. A man is seen entering a building and quickly washing his hands, a shot of the sink reveals the sand he washes off. The man goes up the stairs and settles into bed with a newspaper. Downstairs is the Bijou cinema where we see Mrs. Verloc at the box office trying to smooth things over with movie goers who want their money back as the power failure has stopped the show. She leaves the box office as another ticket taker comes in to take over and she’s tougher then Mrs. Verloc at fighting off the disgruntled crowd. Mrs. Verloc goes upstairs to the apartment above the cinema to find her husband, who is revealed to be the man who came in from the back and slipped into bed. He and Mrs. Verloc are the Bijou cinema owners. He awakens to her calls and asks while she is holding a torch. (Flashlight) She tells her husband that the power has gone out and the customers are demanding their money back and it wouldn’t be financially a good idea. But he says, don’t worry, he is expecting some money, so give them the money back. Downstairs she finds that there is a man from the grocery store next door trying to get the angry movie goers to leave. He is Ted Spencer and seems to be very attracted to Mrs Verloc. She tries to ask him to let it go as she will give them the money back. But just then, the power is restored and the crowd is satisfied to resume with the show.

    The next day, we see Mr. Verloc has a clandestine meeting at a public place, the zoo at the aquarium, to meet his contact. Scotland Yard agents who suspect that Mr. Verloc is involved with the blackout are observing this meeting. While meeting with his contact, Mr. Verloc is shown a copy of the newspaper that laughs off the power failure. So his contact tells him he has to do another attack on London that will be more serious. At first Mr. Verloc objects to the idea of getting people hurt. But he has no choice. So he meets with a man at a pet shop. The man who runs the shop, runs it with his daughter who seems to know all the goings on and that the pet shop owner is a bomb-maker. They discuss the details of having a time bomb made and to deliver it to him as a gift to Mrs. Verloc‘s young brother Steve who lives with them.

    Later on we see that Ted Spenser, the green grocer at the store next to the Bijou cinema is actually an undercover Scotland Yard agent and begins to get closer to Mrs. Verloc to see if she is involved or knows more. He invites her and her young brother Steve to a fancy steak lunch. Of course she is refusing his advances, but agrees to the luncheon date. He learns that Mrs. Verloc is actually an American who came over for a new life in London. She tells him that the economy in the US wasn’t going so well, so she wanted to try her luck in England. He finds she is not involved and continues to watch over her and her husband.

    That evening, Ted witnesses several strange men go into the Bijou theater, so he goes to the theater to investigate. Ted is let into the theater by Mrs. Verloc during a show and he starts to snoop around. He meets Steve and is shown the back of the theater. There he finds a door to a chamber that is the back side of the screen. There is a window on the back wall that Steve identifies as the window to the front room of the Verloc living quarters. Ted climbs up and tells Steve he is going to try to play a prank on Verloc. Once at the window, he is able to ease drop on the meeting that Mr. Verloc is having with the three other men in the room. One man in the group can see Ted’s hand on the edge of the window sill as the window is partially tilted up and carefully walks over the window while talking so as not to raise suspicion with the other men or Ted. Once close enough, he grabs Ted’s arm and pulls him into the room. Steve pops his head through the window and tells everyone he was showing Ted around. Ted sheepishly tries to explain he was just checking out the back of the theater with Steve and apologizes. He leaves the room. One of the men recognizes Ted as a Scotland Yard inspector and the other three men quickly decide to leave and go their ways and disappear. Ted is now outed as a Scotland Yard inspector. He has a meeting with Mrs. Verloc the next day as to why he was snooping and tells her they suspect her husband. She doesn’t believe this and is trying to figure out what is going on. Meanwhile the plan with Mr. Verloc is still on and he plans to place the bomb at the Piccadilly London Underground at 1:45pm. But because he is under such scrutiny, he asks Steve to take some film cans to the location to drop them off. He unknowingly is taking the bomb there. This sets up a suspenseful sequence and totally changes the course of the film!

    Impressions

    I actually decided to watch this film a second time the next day. I was a little tired and missed some dialogue, so a second viewing really helped to pick up some more details. Some of the heavier English accents were hard to understand. There is a good amount of suspense. The event I described above where Steve is taking the bomb to Piccadilly was a real turning point and this totally changed the movie and made the ending so good. It changed the dynamic of the character relationships and worked to propel the plot to two surprising turns! It built to an exciting climax and I was feeling for Ted and Mrs. Verloc to prevail. In someways, what happens reminded me of Blackmail.

    The enemy agents who are trying to carry out the terrorist activities are only revealed as a gang of terrorists, from what country or group was left vague. I know this is what Hitchcock does, he doesn’t tell you what you don’t need to know. Just enough information is shown to set up the story and motivations and the Macguffin.

    By the way, for Walt Disney fans, there is a short sequence from a Disney short being shown in the cinema that Mrs. Verloc is seen watching a few minutes of. It helps show her state of mind. The short is called Who Killed Cock Robin. There is a special note of thanks to Disney in the films titles sequence at the start. This film also has a cool title sequence with the word sabotage shown from a page in the dictionary. Then the film’s titles are superimposed over this, I thought the font style was very much a modern style of the time. I have different from the titles in films like The Man Who Knew Too Much.

    Addendum

    I initially watched Sabotage on a DVD from the non authorized Mill Creek set I have that has poor quality sources for their transfers. What I had not realized is I have the MGM Alfred Hitchcock Premiere Collection; 8 Master Works from the Master of Suspense. This set has many films on DVD I already have from later purchases of the Blu Ray versions. So I had not realized the set also includes Sabotage and Young and Innocent. There are no Region A Blu Rays of Sabotage or Young and Innocent as I’ve since found that there are Region B versions of Sabotage and Young and Innocent.

    I watched the film a second time on this MGM Premiere Collection of Sabotage. What a difference! I noticed that while watching the MGM DVD first on my Oppo 205, it really does a nice job upscaling the disc, so it’s a very pleasing image. Sound is better too and this time, I was able to more get into the characters and better feel their motivations, particularly Mrs Verloc and her pained conflicted feelings. I also rewatched the MGM disc a second time with the audio commentary on.

    Regarding the Hitchcock cameo, I could not be sure I found it. It’s noted you can see him early in the film walking on the sidewalk in front of the Bijou theater once the power comes back on and he looks up at the street lights. I rewatched that and I’m not convinced that’s him. Just doesn’t look like his profile.

    Good movie, or I wouldn’t have watched it this many times so soon! :) The audio commentary is also a worth while listen. It’s by film historian Leonard Leff. Also includes Peter Bogdanovich interviews with Hitchcock which I have not listened to yet.
     
    Cineman, benbess and Mark McSherry like this.
  12. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 1999
    Messages:
    14,966
    Likes Received:
    3,869
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Hey guys, I wanted to check with you experts about the Jamaica Inn DVD from Kino. I managed to find a used copy and it arrived today. Looking at the case and disc, it looks like the only damage is to the spindle clip parts that holds the disc in the case.

    Since there is no blu ray I could find, I felt this DVD would be a good bet as a legitimate release and being a Kino release, a decent transfer. There was 75th Anniversary Blu Ray from Cohen films but that was crazy expensive. So I figure the Kino DVD will be a good option.

    I know nothing about this film. The cast looks good, but reminds me of Waltzes from Vienna. A costume drama, but I’ll reserve prejudging and watch it.
     
  13. Message #73 of 309 May 2, 2019
    Last edited: May 3, 2019
    Mark McSherry

    Mark McSherry Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2013
    Messages:
    207
    Likes Received:
    205
    Trophy Points:
    110
    Real Name:
    Mark McSherry
    DVD Beaver has a review of Jamaica Inn with comparisons of the Kino DVD, the expensive Cohen Region A blu, and the Region B Arrow Academy bluray. The Kino DVD doesn't fare too well against the blu competition. I see the Cohen blu came out January 2015 but didn't realize it had gone out of print so soon. The Arrow bluray is quite affordable from the UK (< $20) but appears to be locked to Region B.

    Most reviewers of the Cohen bluray mentioned that the much better presentation greatly improved their assessment of the film from earlier impressions derived from lesser quality sources.
     
    Osato likes this.
  14. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 1999
    Messages:
    14,966
    Likes Received:
    3,869
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Thanks for the link Mark. Well, I only paid $3 something plus another $3 for shipping, so I don’t mind being out that much for the Kino disc. If the movie is a bust, then I won’t feel too bad I didn’t pay hundreds for the Cohen disc. Though those screen caps looked amazing compared the earlier standard def DVD.

    On the other hand, the Cohen version I see is available at iTunes, I should have looked there first.
     
    Mark McSherry likes this.
  15. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Messages:
    20,782
    Likes Received:
    10,277
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Real Name:
    Matt Hough
    I certainly found that to be true. No, it's not a great Hitchcock undiscovered masterpiece, but I found it very enjoyable viewing on Blu-ray, something that had never happened with the public domain VHS copy I had.
     
  16. Message #76 of 309 May 3, 2019
    Last edited: May 3, 2019
    Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 1999
    Messages:
    14,966
    Likes Received:
    3,869
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Thanks Matt for that added insight. If the movie is not one of Hitchcock’s better efforts, might be best to view it from the best source possible! So the iTunes version might be what I use to watch it. It I’ll check out the Kino disc too to see how it looks.

    I’ll let you and Mark know what I thought of Jamaica Inn. :)
     
    Osato, Mark McSherry and Matt Hough like this.
  17. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Messages:
    20,782
    Likes Received:
    10,277
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Real Name:
    Matt Hough
    I'd be very interested in your thoughts about the movie!
     
  18. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Messages:
    16,215
    Likes Received:
    18,991
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Real Name:
    Josh Steinberg
    I don’t think I’ve ever seen Jamaica Inn! I kinda love that Hitchcock made so many films that there are still a few that will be new to me.
     
    Osato likes this.
  19. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Messages:
    20,782
    Likes Received:
    10,277
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Real Name:
    Matt Hough
    I haven't seen all of the early British films, especially the non-thrillers. But the itch to see those just isn't very strong.
     
    Josh Steinberg likes this.
  20. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 1999
    Messages:
    14,966
    Likes Received:
    3,869
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Jamaica Inn will be the last of the British titles for my project. I have to say so far this project has been interesting. I admit I wasn’t too enthusiastic about the early British titles either since I had no idea what to expect, especially the silent titles. But for this project, my goal was to see each one in order. And I found that there are quite a lot of good ones that were enjoyable.
     

Share This Page