(Review originally written at 5 September 2009)

Well, Hitchock movies always had been experimental in some ways, making his movies often something unique and spectacular, even by todays standards. But this movie is perhaps more experimental and daring than most of his other projects. What makes this movie unique and experimental is that the entire movie consists out of 10 long shots.

It makes the movie perhaps look and feel more like a stage-play but it still manages to give the movie a typical movie look and feel to it. Notmally when you film a stage-play as a movie it rarely ever works out but somehow Hitchcock manged it but picking a fascinating and provoking subject and characters.

Of course the movie relies heavily on its main concept and story of 2 young men killing one of their friends because they feel intellectual superior to him, which they think, gives them the right to commit murder. As if this isn't enough already they decide to test the perfection of their carefully planned and executed plot by inviting a couple of their friends and even the victim's parents, while is body is still in the room. They drop small hints, which soon rises the suspicion of one of their old teacher's, played by James Stewart.

It's a provoking movie with its subject, that isn't just being black and with but also questions its themes in a sophisticated manner. It raises a couple of discussions with its well written dialog and actors delivering them.

Fore of course the movie is also relying on its actors. After all, the main actors are in frame for basically the movie its entire running time and there are no in between cuts to conceal a badly delivered line or other goof-ups. It relies on the professionally of the actors and therefor the movie also uses some real typical stage actors. Its acting style isn't always compelling but luckily there also is still James Steward who with his acting style counterweights some of the overly typical stage style of acting. I though he played a great role in this movie and it shows him like we didn't get to see him too often. For his role he was also made to look older than he was in real life.

Despite it's obviously very restrained locations and room to move the movie never gets dull or slow. The pace at all times remains good and steady, which of course also is thanks to its limited running time of about 80 minutes.

It's a small and simple movie from Hitchcock that is still daring and unique. It's daring that he had to guts to make a movie with an approach like this one had and unique through its successful execution. Perhaps in a way you could say that this movie was a sort of practice for his later "Rear Window", that shows some similarities to this movie in its approach and also stars James Stewart in it.

Hitchcock's first color is not just unique and fascinating because of its color!


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About Frank Veenstra

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