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Friday, October 27, 2017

Murder! (1930)

A well respected theater actor (Herbert Marshall) finds himself on the jury of a murder trial. A young actress (Norah Baring) is accused of murdering another actress in their theater company. Although browbeaten by the other jury members into a guilty vote, he later forms a plan to prove her innocence before she is hanged. Based on the novel ENTER SIR JOHN by Clemence Dane and Helen Simpson, this early sound film directed by Alfred Hitchcock (his third sound film) owes a lot to Agatha Christie in its whodunit mode. It puts the talk in talkie to be sure but make no mistake about it, the film is pure Hitchcock with all the little touches that would soon coin the term "Hitchcockian". The mystery itself is a bit on the convoluted side and could have used a bit tightening up. The acting is often stiff. Norah Baring delivers her lines like a sleepwalker! But Edward Chapman and Phyllis Konstam as a stage manager and his actress wife give lively performances. With Una O'Connor, Miles Mander and Esme Percy. 

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