Blackmail

A woman kills a man in self-defence but falls victim to a blackmailer in Alfred Hitchcock's thriller, made in both silent and sound versions.

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Cast & Credits

Introduction

“A critical and commercial triumph... and confirmed Hitchcock as the most admired British director of the time.”
Mark Duguid, BFI Screenonline

Through its mixture of location filming and roster of believable working-class characters, Hitchcock's seminal thriller, made in both sound and silent versions, also succeeds as a rich evocation of London life. From its opening sequence, with the police tracking down a wanted criminal, through scenes on the London Underground, Whitehall, the Lyon's Tea House at Piccadilly Circus, and on to the climactic chase in and atop the British Museum, the film successfully eludes its theatrical origins. The sound version was Britain's first 'talkie'.

A highpoint in Hitchcock's early career, the director would later revisit and surpass the knife murder in Blackmail with those featured in both The 39 Steps (1935) and, most famously, Psycho (1960).

Joan Barry, who would star in Hitchcock's quirky comedy Rich and Strange (1931), provided the voice for the heroine played by Polish actress Anny Ondra in the sound version.

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