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EASY VIRTUE

Director: ALFRED HITCHCOCK

72 minutes, U.K., 1927, Silent, Black and White, D-Cinema


This screening will feature live musical accompaniment by pianist Morgan Cooke.

The official BFI label here is ‘Writers’, since the film adapts a recent play by Noël Coward, but it could equally be ‘The Watchful Eye’: the camera’s gaze gives the story a dimension unattainable on stage. The central figure, divorcee Larita Filton, is put under relentless and oppressive scrutiny from first to last – from the initial divorce-court judge to the final line-up of press photographers, inspiring her great line, “Shoot: there’s nothing left to kill.” In between has come the hostile gaze of the mother of her callow second husband, a chilling anticipation of the hostility of the man’s mother in films like Notorious – Larita is referred to by that same adjective – and Psycho.

Easy Virtue also contains a quite different tour de force of silent narrative: a remarkable one-minute one-shot scene at a telephone switchboard.

A restoration by the BFI National Archive in association with ITV Studios Global Entertainment and Park Circus Films.

This event is part of The Genius of Alfred Hitchcock: Part Four, the final part of our complete retrospective of Hitchcock’s 52 surviving films (March 2nd – 31st).

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