(Review originally written at 15 November 2007)

I have the feeling people call this movie a great one just because it's made by Hitchcock. But truth being told, the movie really isn't among the greatest in its genre. Even the master himself obviously still had some learning to do. No disgrace, since this is the first 'talkie' from the master of suspense. Well, not exactly entirely a talkie in my book, since the movie is still mostly shot in silent movie style. Sound came available during the making of this movie, which was reason for Hitchcock to re-shoot certain parts of the movie with sound. It doesn't exactly give the movie a very consistent style and makes the editing look clumsy at parts.

The movie is a bit of a drag at points, with also some overlong pointless dialog and long shots. The movie does luckily get better when the suspense kicks in and the movie turns into a real thriller. But soon again the movie starts to tend to be overlong at points. It also restrains the movie its story and keeps it rather simplistic. The movie gives you the feeling it had more potential in its story really.

There are some great, almost artistic like looking shots within the movie, which still makes this a certainly better than average one and also more interesting to watch. it's a very creatively put together movie, with also some great camera-work, lighting and use of shadows. Of course the museum chase at the end of the movie is the highlight of the movie. It's a greatly directed sequence that is great looking and constructed. It showed Hitchcock's talent and was a premise of things to come.

The actors certainly aren't among the greatest of their period. Their excuse could be that this was their first talkie as well though.

It's not the most exciting Hitchcock you'll ever see. Even as an early thriller and for 1929 standards it isn't among the most exciting or best ones but it's a movie worth watching for its artistic creativity.


About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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