- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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Blackmail on Criterion Collection DVD
- Jeffrey Kenison
All things considered, this movie deserves a place in the Criterion Collection on DVD.
- Will Fox
Alternative SynopsisWhile having tea in an English restaurant with her cocky husband-to-be, Scotland Yard Detective Frank Webber, Alice White flirts with another man. Later, that cocky artist invites her for a walk and then up to see his studio. After a series of refusals, she goes in. She is surprised, when he asks her to pose for him. She politely declines, but then flattered gives into temptation, thinking fame would be fun. After stealing her clothes while she is changing behind a screen, the impatient artist over-powers her, carries her to bed, and tries to rape her. Frantically Alice fights him, stabs him to death, and flees to her parents home over their London shop.Her detective-fianc Frank, who had witnessed Alice sneaking off with a strange man, rejoins her and her parents the next morning. He's been investigating at the dead artist's studio and found Alice's glove. He secretly shows Alice her glove, so she will know that he knows she was there at the crime scene. Alice confesses enough to confirm her horrible ordeal. Frank hides the glove in his overcoat pocket and protectively comforts her in her parents' shop. Then a smarmy stranger enters the shop, slyly shows the couple Alice's other glove and proceeds to ply his blackmail scheme. In his cat's paw-and-mouse game, he gets an expensive cigar and then breakfast inside Alice's family's dining room next door. Mr. Tracy, the sneaky little blackmailer scares Det. Frank and fianc Alice. So she introduces Tracy as Frank's friend to her parents. He finally leaves, after a long breakfast, getting some blackmail money and without paying for the cigar.Later, Scotland Yard Detective Frank discovers that other witnesses have reported seeing a strange man suspiciously hanging around the artist's studio. The witnesses' description fits blackmailer Tracy. He has a criminal's police record.Unaware of investigators' discoveries, Alice's conscious bothers enough to cofess.
Excellent, especially for Hitchcock fans
I liked this better than I thought I would. The lead character, who is both naive but selfish and cunning, complains about her Scotland Yard detective boyfriend about keeping her her waiting for their dinner and movie date. She had plans to go out with another guy, an artist, after their date, so at dinner she keeps changing her mind about going to the movie. The other guy is at the restaurant, so after the detective boyfriend leaves in disgust, she hooks up with the artist. The detective is conflicted and didn't leave the restaurant, but while standing outside, he sees his date leave with the artist. The girl goes to to the artist's loft apartment, and he gets her to take off her clothes under the guise of trying on a costume, which was a flouncy dress that is way too small for her. He tries to rape her, and she somehow gets hold of a knife and stabs him, leaving his body, which is discovered the next day. Her conscience bothers her about killing him, and there is an excellent breakfast scene the next day, where Hitchcock emphasizes her perception. She is asked to cut the bread, but keeps hearing the word "knife" loudly. She resumes her relationship with the detective, who gets assigned to the case, but is being blackmailed. Worth seeing.
- Dashiell B.
England's most-publicized talking picture was the one that made Hitchcock a director to watch for. Ondra, whose voice was dubbed, is the first of Hitchcock's blonde's and does good work as the sympathetic killer. Hitchcock uses the then-new technology to his advantage as supported by a breakfast scene in which the word "knife" is heavily emphasized. To summarize, for Hitchcock fans, this is a must-see film, a film that includes the first of many finales shot at a famous landmark. I give it a 4/5.
- Mark Sutch