BLACKMAIL (Silent Version) (1929)
A woman (Anny Ondra) kills in self-defense and is subsequently bedeviled by both her terrifying memories and a merciless blackmailer. The film was shot on location in London, lending verisimilitude to director Alfred Hitchcock's first major chase sequence and bravura finale, in which the police pursue the blackmailer all the way to the domed roof of the British Museum's Reading Room. Originally made and released in 1929 as a silent film, BLACKMAIL was partly reshot and released that same year as the first British talkie – a situation which informed the plot of the recently-released DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA through producer Gareth Neame, whose grandfather, Ronald Neame, had been a camera assistant on Hitchcock's film. The success of the sound version relegated the silent edition to undeserved obscurity, and it was only much later rediscovered and restored. "Watching the original version of BLACKMAIL today confirms that what would be known as Hitchcock's first sound film was also his last and best silent film." – Smith Rafael Film Center. DIR/SCR Alfred Hitchcock; SCR Benn W. Levy, from the play by Charles Bennett; PROD John Maxwell. UK, 1929, b&w, 75 min. Silent with English intertitles. NOT RATED
Co-presented by Art Deco Society of Washington.
No AFI Member passes accepted.
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