81 minutes, U.K., 1931, Black and White, 35mm

Like Juno and the Paycock (screening as this month’s IFI Monthly Must-See), a respectful version of a stage classic: John Galsworthy’s drama of the conflict between two English families, the old-money Hillcrists and the upstart Hornblowers whose wealth comes from trade. Like Juno, it is mostly content to record the actors and the dialogue in long takes, but it also manages to construct some great passages based on point-of-view and fast editing – the central auction sequence, in which the Hillcrist family home is at stake, would in itself make the film worth seeing.

In terms of Hitchcock’s development, the film has more than simply a technical interest: once again, as in Blackmail and Juno and several of the silents, a victimised woman – Phyllis Konstam as Chloe Hornblower – is at the centre of the film both in plot and in emotional intensity.

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. 

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