Alfred Hitchcock's Blackmail is a landmark in British cinema. Released in June 1929, it was hailed as 'the first British all-talkie film.' Characteristically, Hitchcock makes flamboyant use of the new technical and aesthetic opportunities that sound offered. But the film was also released in a silent version, and to this day some critics consider this version a superior work. In his lucid and knowledgeable discussion, Tom Ryall covers both versions of the film. It is, he argues, both a considerable work of art in itself, and also one of the first to display those touches we now think of as typically Hitchcockian; a blonde heroine in jeopardy, a surprise killing, some brilliantly manipulated suspense, and a last-reel chase around a familiar public landmark (in this case the British Museum). There's also a cameo appearance by the director himself, as a harassed traveller on the London Underground.
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Alfred Hitchcock Alice's American films Anny Ondra's artist audience Bioscope Blackmail Britain British cinema British film-maker British International Pictures British Phototone Charles Barr Charles Bennett classic Claude Chabrol close shot close-up context Crewe Cyril Ritchard dialogue film dialogue sequences director documentary dramatic early talkies Eisenstein Elisabeth Weis Eric Rohmer exhibitors Faber film culture Film Society film style film's Frank and Alice Hitch Hitchcock's Films Hitchcockian Hollywood Ibid Jan Singer jester painting John Maxwell Kine Weekly knife landlady landmark film Lindgren Lindsay Anderson Lodger Lotte Eisner Lyons Corner House Michael Balcon mise en scene montage music and sound narrative off-screen Paul Rotha's Phonofilm play police policeman problems released Scotland Yard scream screen shooting silent cinema silent film silent picture silent to sound silent version sound effects sound films sound pictures sound version soundtrack staircase synchronised talkie talking pictures Tracy trade press Truffaut West End whilst