A man in London tries to help a counter-espionage Agent. But when the Agent is killed, and the man stands accused, he must go on the run to save himself and stop a spy ring which is trying to steal top secret information.
While holidaying in Switzerland, Lawrence and his wife Jill are asked by a dying friend, Louis Bernard, to get information hidden in his room to the British Consulate. They get the information, but when they deny having it, their daughter Betty is kidnapped. It turns out that Louis was a Foreign Office spy and the information has to do with the assassination of a foreign dignitary. Having managed to trace his daughter's kidnappers back to London, Lawrence learns that the assassination will take place during a concert at the Albert Hall. It is left to Jill, however, to stop the assassination.Written by
(at around 21 mins) When Bob Lawrence and his daughter exit the chalet porch to watch the trap shoot, Bob pushes the left door outwards. When the camera cuts to an outside view of their leaving the building, it's the other door that is swinging shut, and it is closing from the inside. See more »
Relax. Keep your eyes fixed on this light. Keep them fixed. Before receiving the first degree of the seventh old ray, your mind must be white and blank. You are already feeling sleepy. Do you hear me?
Your mind is becoming quite blank. You feel that, don't you? Quite, quite blank.
Yes. Quite blank.
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Lorre learns English as Hitch continues to grow as a director
One of Alfred Hitchcock's earliest classics, made before he came to Hollywood. A couple's daughter is kidnapped to keep her parents quiet about an assassination plot. The couple is played by Leslie Banks and Edna Best. Banks is good in a role that's a long way from his florid performance in The Most Dangerous Game from a couple of years earlier. Best is impressive in a sympathetic turn. Peter Lorre is menacing and even a little creepy as the leader of the assassins. This was his first English-speaking role (he learned the language while filming). Nice photography from Curt Courant and some fun little creative touches from Hitchcock. The dry humor is blended nicely with the action and suspense. The cult of sun worshippers and The Royal Albert Hall scene are both worthy of Hitch's highlight reel. Perhaps one too many abrupt cuts from one scene to the next, often as a character is in mid-sentence. But clearly Hitch was still honing his craft. At least he was trying things as opposed to the static direction of many of his contemporaries.
Remade in 1956 by Hitchcock himself, with James Stewart and Doris Day. That version is more polished and "Hollywood," and is arguably the more popular of the two. Although neither film is perfect, I prefer this one. It may not have the two decades of advancements in production techniques or the bigger budget of the remake, but it has a tighter plot, shorter runtime, faster pace, darker tone, and it builds suspense without the distracting side stuff of the remake. Plus there's no incongruous scenes of Doris Day singing.
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