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BLACKMAIL (SOUND VERSION)

Director: ALFRED HITCHCOCK

U.K. • 1929 • BLACK AND WHITE • 35MM • 84 MIN (APPROX.)


Hitchcock’s first sound film was hailed at the time for its technical inventiveness, and has been celebrated by a new generation of critics both for its expressionist soundtrack experiments and for its sharp analysis of the sexual politics of its time: Alice White kills a would-be rapist, and is then paralysed by the impossibility of speaking out honestly to family or to police. Hitchcock took this structure directly from the play by Charles Bennett, with whom he would forge a productive partnership five years later; the Irish censor had severe difficulties with the subject matter, but his ban was overturned on appeal. Made at the transitional point between silent and sound cinema, the film was released in two versions, both of which will be screened, the silent one with live musical accompaniment.

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