|Cast:||Anny Ondra, Sara Allgood, Charles Paton|
|John Longden, Donald Calthrop,Cyril Ritchard|
|Produced by||John Maxwell|
|Screenwriter:||Alfred Hitchcock, Benn W. Levy|
|Cinematography:||Jack E. Cox|
|Editing By:||Emile de Ruelle|
|Music By:||Alloy Orchestra|
While times change; spectacular film-making is truly timeless. Hitchcock is a master of light and composition, where each shot adds power, suspense and creates emotional story telling. The 1929 film “Blackmail” is an early example of Hitchock’s ability to compose images that create fear and suspense and at the same time great beauty. Watching this film I was overwhelmed with the care and craft of each shot. Nothing on the screen was there by chance, from the white trim on her dress to the books on the shelves, each were elements paced with care, lit with such skill that virtual every frame could be printed as an image I would happily hang on my wall.
The story is of a young woman(Alice Walker) who cuts short her date with her long time boy friend( Scotland Yard Detective Frank Webber) to meet up with an artist who brings her pack to his studio to show her his work. When it turns out his intends to show her more than just his paintings, she ends his unwanted advances using a large knife. Alice exits the scene of murder leaving behind one of her gloves. As chance has it, Webber is among the detectives assigned the case and while investigating the crime-scene, recognizes the glove. Despite his knowledge of his girl friend’s infidelity; he chooses to cover-up the facts to protect her. A plan that is complicated when a stranger arrives with “Information” and intent that gives rise to the film’s title.
I was lucky to be able to see this movie with a score being performed live by the Alloy Orchestra, a three man band consisting of a keyboardist and two percussionists who make use of found objects. Tell anyone you are planing a career in the world of cinema and they will inform you that it be a challenge to make a living, now imagine telling someone your specialty is accompanying silent films. I’m not sure that Alloy Orchestra are on a path to great wealth, but I am sure that their music was a powerful addition to the screening.