Ivor Novello, fresh from the success of The Lodger, stars in a variant of the same ‘wrong man’ story: as a student who is unjustly expelled from school and cuts himself off from his family, exploring various exotic layers of British and French society. Working from a play co-authored under a pseudonym by Novello himself, and from a screenplay by his regular silent collaborator Eliot Stannard, Hitchcock experiments with a dazzling range of formal devices, from the upside-down point-of-view shot used two decades later in Notorious, to an extended delirium sequence as Novello heads back from the Marseilles underworld towards a reconciliation with his London family.
Hitchcock explained to Truffaut his characteristic strategy for handling this delirium: “I wanted to embody the dream in the reality, in solid, unblurred images.”
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 ITV Studios Global Entertainment and Park Circus Films Principal restoration funding provided by Simon W Hessel. Additional funding provided by Deluxe 142 and The Headley Trust.