Hitckcock Blackmail

Cast/Crew Info
Cast: Anny Ondra, Sara Allgood, Charles Paton
John Longden, Donald Calthrop,Cyril Ritchard
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
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.


Alloy Orchestra, score for Blackmail

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.

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