A major landmark for Hitchcock, for British cinema, and indeed for world cinema, a bold early demonstration of the expressive possibilities of synchronised sound. In fact the film exists in two versions, the silent one as originally planned, and the new one commissioned half-way through, as Britain belatedly followed America in converting to the new sound medium.
Typically of critics of the time, Paul Rotha saw the film, centred on male sexual violence, as important technically but trivial in subject matter: it would be ‘forgotten within a year’. But it survives triumphantly, not least because of its visionary handling of sexual politics, sympathetically analysed by a new generation of feminist critics. The film here owes much to the play by Charles Bennett, soon to become the second of Hitchcock’s key script collaborators.
The silent version of this film will screen on January 5th at 16.30 and will be accompanied by music from pianist Morgan Cooke.
This film is screening as part of The Genius of Hitchcock: Part Two. A full retrospective of Hitchcock’s 52 surviving films is taking place at the IFI from December 2012 to March 2013.
A six-week Evening Course, Shadow of a Genius, will look at the work of directors influenced by Hitchcock and will take place from February 5th to March 12th.
A restoration by the BFI National Archive in association with STUDIOCANAL Principal restoration funding provided by The Hollywood Foreign Press Association and The Film Foundation. Additional funding provided by Deluxe 142, Pia Getty, Col & Karen Needham, and the Dr Mortimer & Theresa Sackler Foundation.