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Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Genre: Crime/Thriller

Year: 1929

Running time: 85 minutes

Territory: UK

Studio: StudioCanal

Format: DCP

Cast: Anny Ondra, Sara Allgood, Charles Paton

Alfred Hitchcock's Blackmail is a landmark in British cinema. Released in June 1929, it was hailed as 'the first British all-talkie film'. Characteristically, Hitchcock makes flamboyant use of the new technical and aesthetic opportunities which sound offered. But the film was also released in a silent version, and to this day some critics consider this version a superior work.

In his lucid and knowledgeable discussion, Tom Ryall covers both versions of the film. It is, he argues, both a considerable work of art in itself, and also one of the first to display those touches we now think of as typically Hitchcockian: a blonde heroine in jeopardy, a surprise killing, some brilliantly manipulated suspense, and a last-reel chase around a familiar public landmark (in this case the British Museum). There's also a cameo appearance by the Director himself, as a harassed traveller on the London Underground.


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