Friday, June 11, 2004

Karaoke movie

Blackmail (1929) is a British movie which was made on the cusp of the sound era. Hitchcock, who was the only British silent film director who didn't stink, decided to make it into a talkie midway through filming. His lead actess had a foreign accent, so he dubbed her voice by having a British actress speak the lines while Anny Ondre moved her lips. She plays a blond murderer who is a victim of blackmail by a voyeur. There's a scene in the dining room in which the woman, her boyfriend, and the blackmailer are all together, and the tension is just dreadful. The sound technology is primitive, but when you need it, the dialogue is there. If you like Hitchcock's later stuff, I recommend this one. You'll be amazed how consistent his quality was.


  1. Your "Netflix on Sun" post which referred to Infoworld was linked to by them. I got here from there. Am also a netflix fan so decided to look around.

    Re: "Blackmail", it looks like Hitchcock might have been the first to dub dialog. Sounds like good Hollywood cocktail party trivia.

    posting from Hollywood - Anonymous Coward

  2. Thanks for stopping by! I was amazed at how few great silent films were from Britain, since their later stuff is so good. I think Hitch cannot claim precedence for dubbing, since he was late to the sound scene. Americans were first, but he can perhaps claim precedence for Britain.