Monday, January 24, 2022

HITCHCOCK: A Scarf and a Medical Bag, A Conscience, 19th Century Ship Wreckers, The Third Dimension, and A Roving Dead Body

Mention Alfred Hitchcock and its even money 1960's "Psycho" comes up! Depending on your tastes, 1951's "Strangers on a Train", Cary Grant's 1955 "To Catch a Thief" and 1959's "North by Northwest" might be added. A Doris Day fan may bring up "Hitch's" own remake of his 1934 "The Man Who Knew Too Much" and if you're into Day's co-star Jimmy Stewart. The speaker could add 1954's "Rear Window" and 1958's "Vertigo". While another brings to the conversation  Hitchcock's 1944 "Lifeboat", or the Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman 1945 "Spellbound" and if they really know Peck, 1947's "The Paradine Case" is a must.

None of those features are a part of this article and only one of the five motion pictures I'll be mentioning might be known by the general public. When you speak of Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, the murder itself and the detective work were always the fun for the viewer, so here I go with five of my favorites.


Scotland Yard never knew his real name and in 1913 English authoress Marie Adelaide Belloc Lowndes just called him "The Avenger" in her novel "The Lodger".

THE LODGER: A Story of the London Fog released in the United Kingdom on February 14, 1927

According to 1999 biographer Donald Spoto's "The Dark Side of Genius: The Life of Alfred Hitchcock", page 84, in 1915 Alfred Hitchcock saw the play "Who Is He?" A comic stage version of Marie Belloc Lowndes' novel, which is a funny idea in itself, written by both Horace Annesley Vachell and Mrs. Lowndes and that story stuck with him.

"The Lodger" was the third feature length motion picture directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Prior to  his first feature film he had directed the unfinished 1922 "Number 13", and a short subject, 1923's "Always Tell Your Wife". Hitchcock would follow this picture by directing 1927's "Downhill aka When Boys Leave Home". Below is a publicity still of Hitch and his film crew.

Marie Belloc Lowndes novel was turned into a screenplay by Eliot Stannard. Who between silent shorts in 1914 and sound features in 1933, wrote 168 different screenplays! These included Alfred Hitchcock's first two motion pictures, 1925's "The Pleasure Garden" and 1926's "Mountain Eagle". Along with the scenario for Hitchcock's 1927 "Downhill". 

Ivor Novello portrayed "Jonathan Drew, the Lodger". He had just been seen in "Gainsborough Pictures", "The Triumph of the Rat", the second film, the first was 1925's "The Rat", in a trilogy about Novello's "Pierre Boucheron" the boy king of the Paris underworld. Ivor Novello would follow this Alfred Hitchcock silent classic with Hitchcock's 1927 "Downhill" and the third feature of the trilogy, 1929's "The Return of the Rat".

Marie Ault portrayed "The Landlady, Mrs. Bunting". Her first on-screen appearance was in a 1916 short and the last of her 79 roles was in 1951. Marie Ault portrayed "The Landlady" in all three of Ivor Novello's "The Rat Trilogy", and in 1931, she was "Mrs. Hudson", the landlady to Raymond Massey's "Sherlock Holmes" in "The Speckled Band".

Arthur Chesney
portrayed "Mr. Bunting". He had started on-screen acting in a 1931 short and when his last film was released in 1948, Chesney had only appeared on-screen 28 times. However, from a personal perspective, in 1907 Chesney he married actress Estelle Windwood, Walt Disney's 1959 "Darby O'Gill and the Little People" with an unknown Sean Connery and Bert I. Gordon's 1962 "The Magic Sword", but that marriage was dissolved shortly afterwards. Arthur Chesney was the brother of actor Edmund Gwenn and cousin to actor Cecil Kellaway, who retained the family's actual last name.

June Tripp portrayed "Daisy Bunting-A Mannequin (A Model)". After this picture Tripp didn't appear in a motion picture until 1943 and when she stopped acting in 1952 her roles totaled eight. However, two of those were without credit and one is still unconfirmed as actually haven taken place.

Malcom Keen portrayed "Joe Chandler-a Police Detective". Keen first appeared on-screen in a 1916 short and in 1951 switched to television with just an occasional motion picture until his retirement in 1962.

During the silent movie era, lines spoken by the characters or informing the audience of a location, were done with "Title Cards". Alfred Hitchcock wanted what the audience was seeing to tell his story and to minimize any use of those title cards. What the audience needed to know became newspaper headlines, something typed on a typewriter in the newspaper office, news clap boards and other innovative items waived into Hitchcock's film to eliminate as much of the distraction caused by stopping the on-screen action for an old-style title card. What cards he used were designed to look like they came from newspaper articles in his original cut, but they were either removed and old  style title cards added by later distributors of the motion picture, supposedly for clarification of the story.

There is a classic sequence with "Mr. and Mrs. Bunting" and "Joe" in the "Bunting's" kitchen. Something happening above the kitchen ceiling gets their attention and as they look up that solid ceiling is replaced with a very thick piece of glass to view "The Lodger" pacing around in his room. Next, Hitchcock flips the perspective and the audience is looking down from above "The Lodger" and sees him and those in the kitchen below reacting to his pacing.

"The Lodger" was the first motion picture with a cameo by Alfred Hitchcock. He portrayed the newspaper editor seen only from the back.

The Screenplay:

The story opens with a young blonde woman screaming. She has become the seventh victim of a serial killer known as "The Avenger (the name Marie Belloc Lowndes gave her obvious "Jack the Ripper" character) that targets young blonde women on Tuesday nights.

That same night blonde "Daisy Bunting" is working a fashion show when she and the other girls hear of the murder. After the show "Daisy" heads home and the blonde models put on dark wigs before leaving.

"Daisy" arrives homes to find her parents and "Joe" discussing "The Avenger" case. There's a knock at the front door and "Jonathan Drew" is standing there inquiring about the room for rent.

"Mrs. Bunting" takes "Drew" upstairs to see the room which has its walls covered in paintings of blonde women. He pays his new landlady a full month in advance, but asks that the paintings he has turned to the walls be removed.

"Daisy" comes upstairs and takes down the paintings and with her mother leaves "Drew" in his room as they hear the heavy footsteps of his pacing.

The audience is told that "Daisy" and "Jonathan" are becoming closer and that is upsetting "Joe" who has now been assigned to "The Avenger Case".

The "Bunting's" read a new description of the serial killer who is described as wearing a similar scarf to the one "Drew" wears and carrying a similar medical bag to the one he had the night he arrived. Late one night "Mrs. Bunting" is awakened by "Jonathan Drew" going down the stairs and leaving the house. "Mrs. Bunting" enters his room and attempts to search it, but can't open a small locked cabinet. The next morning the family hears of another murder just around the corner from their house.

"Daisy's" parents are now convinced that "Jonathan Drew" is "The Avenger" and want her to stay away from him. The following Tuesday night, "Daisy" slips out of the house with "Jonathan". "Joe" tracks the two down and confronts them causing "Daisy" to break off with him.

"Joe" is now convinced that "Jonathan Drew" is "The Avenger". He returns to the "Bunting's" house the following day with two other police officers and a warrant to search "Drew's" room. 

The police find the medical bag and open it. Inside is a gun, a map of London indicating all the locations of the past murders, and a photo "Joe" recognizes as "The Avenger's" first victim. "Daisy" protests his arrest, but the handcuffed "Jonathan" escapes and runs off into the night.

Story Break:

Donald Spoto quotes Hitchcock about the demand from  the executives for "Gainsborough Pictures" to completely change the screenplays ending.
They wouldn't let Novello even be considered as a villain. The publicity angle carried the day, and we had to change the script to show that without a doubt he was innocent.

Continuing with the Screenplay:

"Daisy" now catches up to "Jonathan" who explains the woman in the photograph is his sister, a beautiful blonde debutante that was murdered by "The Avenger" on her way home from a dance. "Drew" vowed to their mother that he would bring the murderer to justice and has been following the clues ever since.

"Daisy" takes "Jonathan" to a nearby pub and places a cloak over his handcuffed hands to hide them. The people in the pub become suspicious of the two and "Jonathan" leaves "Daisy" and goes out into the fog now being pursued by what will become a mob. 

"Joe" shows up and with "Daisy" go after "Jonathan", because the real "Avenger" had been arrested. The mob is beating up "Jonathan" as the two arrive, "Joe" makes them release him and "Jonathan" falls into  "Daisy's" lap.

The picture ends with a fully recovered "Jonathan Drew" and his wife "Daisy". 

The "restored version" runs 1 hour and 30-minutes, but the original United Kingdom cut had a running time of 1 hour and 20-minutes. While, "Turner Classic Movies" lists the running time at 1 hour and 15-minutes and some sites mix up the 1927 film with the 1944 remake and show the running time at 1 hour and 24-minutes. Times also vary because of censorship when the film was originally released.

1927's "The Lodger" as 1960's "Psycho"

Several movie critics and reviewers of "The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog" point out two scenes that they claim were the prototype for Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" 33-years-later. I present them to my reader to decide on your own if you agree.

In "The Lodger" there is a scene of June Tripp taking a bath with Ivor Novello listening at the bathroom door. 

The obvious comparison is Janet Leigh's shower scene in "Psycho", but June Tripp didn't use a body double and Janet Leigh used acknowledged Mari Renfro.

Above, Janet Leigh and below Marli Renfro in the shower scene.

Then there was the look and utilization of the staircases in both films.

For my readers interested in other film versions of Marie Adelaide Belloc Lowndes' novel, or how "The Ripper" was portrayed on film. My article, "JACK THE RIPPER: In Motion Pictures and Television" may be read at:

To lure an audience into their local movie theater, all Alfred Hitchcock needed was one word:

MURDER released in the United Kingdom on July 31, 1930

Director Alfred Hitchcock had just released a 10-minute short entitled "An Elastic Affair" that featured the winners of the scholarships for the magazine "Film Weekly" in a sketch. He would follow this picture with the 1931 drama "The Skin Game" starring Edmund Gwenn. 

The screenplay was based upon the first of series of crime novels by two British authoress. Clemence Dane.

and Helen Simpson entitled "Enter Sir John", publish in 1928.

The novel was adapted by Hitchcock and Walter C. Mycroft, a British novelist, screenplay writer, producer, director and a friend of Alfred Hitchcock that worked on several of his films starting in 1927.

The scenario was written by Alfred Hitchcock's wife, Alma Reville. 

Herbert Marshall portrayed "Sir John Menier". This was only his third motion picture and among his later films were 1938's "Woman Against Woman" co-starring with Virginia Bruce and Mary Astor, 1940's "A Bill of Divorcement" co-starring with Maureen O'Hara and Adolphe Menjou, Hitchcock's 1940 "Foreign Correspondent" co-starring with Joel McCrea and Lorraine Day, 1941's "The Little Foxes" co-starring with Bette Davis and Teresa Wright, the 1954 cult 3-D science fiction film "GOG", and the 1958 cult horror movie "The Fly".

The way Alfred Hitchcock had Herbert Marshall portrayed his character was based upon a friend of the director, the producer and actor Sir Gerald Hubert Edward Busson du Maurier.

Norah Baring
portrayed "Diana Baring". This was the actresses eighth motion picture out of thirteen.

Phyliss Konstam portrayed "Doucie Markham". Konstam also only had thirteen on-screen roles, three others of which were also by Alfred Hitchcock, 1928's "Champagne", 1929's "Blackmail", and 1931's "The Skin Game".

Edward Chapman portrayed "Ted Markham". British character actor Chapman when he appeared in his last role on the British television series, 1971's "The Onedin Line", had portrayed 126 different characters. This motion picture was his second and he also appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's 1931 "The Skin Game". Edward Chapman would co-star with Dean Jagger in "Hammer Film's" classic science fiction film 1956's "X-the Unknown".

Esme Saville Percy portrayed "Handel Fane". This was his first on-screen appearance and, at the time, was one of the major stars of the British stage. Percy had studied under Sarah Bernhardt and was consider one of the leading actors for plays by George Bernard Shaw. When he finished his film career in 1955, he had appeared in only 46 roles, but all were memorable.

Miles Mander portrayed "Gordon Druce". Character actor Mander's film career began in 1920 and over it he would appear almost unnoticed in several memorable roles. He was "Godfrey Norton" in the early "Sherlock Holmes" film, 1921's "A Scandal in Bohemia" starring Ellie Norwood, he co-starred in Alfred Hitchcock's 1925 "The Pleasure Garden", portrayed "King Louis XIII" in the 1935 version of Alexander Dumas' "The Three Musketeers" starring Walter Abel and Paul Lukas, in the 1939 version of the same novel Mander was "Cardinal Richelieu", and the year before had portrayed "Benjamin Disraeli" in the Tyrone Power feature "Suez". 

The Screenplay:

The year is 1930 the film opens with actress "Diana Baring", of a traveling theatrical group, in a dazed condition with blood covering her hands sitting by the body of another actress, "Edna Druce", the corpse played by Aileen Despard. At "Diana's" feet is the poker used to commit the murder, but she has no memory of what happened during the commission of crime. "Diana" and "Edna" were thought to be rivals in the troupe which provided a motive for the murder and the police arrest "Diana". However. it is obvious that "Diana" is withholding information about a man who she will not name, why?

Her trial is held and the majority of the jury believe "Diana Baring" is guilty of murdering "Edna Druce". A couple may think "Diana" really might have no memory of the murder, but they still think she's should be hanged. One juror, the celebrated actor and manager, "Sir John Menier", believes she is innocent, but the other eleven juror's brow-beat him into making the verdict unanimous. 

The judge passes sentence, "Diana Baring" is to be hung for murdering "Edna Druce" and will be imprisoned to await the carrying out of that sentence.

"Sir John Menier's" conscience keeps telling him he's responsible for "Diana Baring" being accused of murder, because he recommended, she join the touring acting company. Yes, at the time a juror could know the accused in England.  

Additionally, "Diana" had been a fan of "Sir John's" all her life. Now, with the help of his theatrical stage manager "Ted Markham" and "Ted's" wife "Doucie", the three set out to find the real murderer who must be within the traveling acting troupe.

The three go to see "Diana Baring's" landlady who claimed to have heard arguing in her apartment with another woman she believed was "Edna Druce". However, "Sir John" asks if the voice might have been a man speaking in falsetto? The three leave and outside of the house a man and an unseen woman pass by them. 

It's Hitchcock and the still unanswered question was the woman his wife, Alma?

"Sir John" visits "Diana" and learns what she has been covering up. "Handel Fane" is a half-caste passing himself off as white, "Edna" threatened to expose him, and that would be his motive for her murder. 

"Sir John" knows that since the trial "Handel Fane" has stayed away from the troupe and he has dressed in drag to perform many roles.

The three had already eliminate all other possible suspects except "Fane" and now after speaking to "Diana". "Sir John" attempts to lure a confession out of the actor by asking him to try out for a play he has just written about a "Murder", but the actor realizes they know the truth and leaves the audition without making any confession. "Sir John Menier" has failed to save "Diana Baring" from the hangman.

"Handel Fane" had returned to pre-acting job and performs his trapeze act at a local circus. From above he sees the "Sir John", "Ted", and "Doucie" enter the arena. In despair, "Fane" knots the access rope, puts it around his neck, and jumps to his death. 

Again, "Sir John" believes he has failed "Diana", but in "Fane's" dressing room he finds a written confession. "Diana" is to be hanged later that day, but can he get the confession to the prison in time to stop her execution?

The audience next sees a freed "Diana Baring" dressed in white furs, white being a sign of innocence, walking into a room and "Sir John" approaching her as if he's in love with "Diana".

Many critics point to 1930's "Murder" being part of the basis for Alfred Hitchcock's 1950 film-noir mystery thriller, "Stage Fright", starring Marlene Dietrich, Jane Wyman, and Michael Todd. Which is about a struggling actress attempting to prove her friend innocent of murdering the husband of a high society entertainer.

More to the point was:

MARY released in the German Weimar Republic on March 2, 1931

In the 1930's and lasting until the Soviet Union dubbed one of their films into another language at the end of the decade. If a motion picture made in one country was to be seen in another, a complete cast of that country's actors was brought in and on the same sets the picture was reshot in the new language. The classic example is "Universal Pictures" 1931 "Dracula", filmed by director Tod Browning during daylight and starring Bela Lugosi and filmed at night by director George Melford starring Carlos Villar in Spanish. Melford's version is considered the better of the two films by motion picture historians.

Of interest here is that Alfred Hitchcock's 1946 "Notorious", starring Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, and Claude Rains, had to be partly dubbed for release in West Germany on September 21, 1951. All references to a "Ring of Nazi Scientists" were changed to a "Drug Smuggling Ring" that Cary Grant's character was after.

Alfred Hitchcock directed the German language version of his "Murder" with the German cast on the same sets.  British born German screenplay writer Herbert Juttke and Austrian screenplay writer Georg C. Klaren rewrote the English language screenplay for German audiences.

There were changes to the names of the characters:

"Diana Baring" became "Mary Baring", "Ted Markham" became "Bobby Brown", "Doucie Markham" became "Bebe Brown", "Gordon Druce" became "Gordon Moore", otherwise the names of "Sir John Menier" and "Handel Fane" remained unchanged. Of note only Miles Mander who spoke German was from the original 1930 cast.

Otherwise, this is the exact same story as Hitch's 1930 "Murder".

Above, Olga Tschechowa portraying "Mary Baring". 

Ten motion pictures followed the release of "Mary" including that original 1934 "The Man Who Knew Too Much" starring Leslie Banks, Edna Best, and Peter Lorre, 1935's "The 39 Steps" starring Robert Donat and Madeline Carroll, and 1936's "Secret Agent" starring John Gielgud, Madeline Carroll, and Robert Young. 

Then Alfred Hitchcock turned to his friend Sir Gerald Hubert Edward Busson du Maurier's  daughter.

JAMAICA INN released in the United Kingdom on May 15, 1939

Alfred Hitchcock had just released 1938's "The Lady Vanishes" starring Margaret Lockwood, Michael Redgrave, and Paul Lukas. He would follow this motion picture with 1940's "Rebecca" starring Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, and George Sanders.

The screenplay was based upon Dame Daphne du Maurier, Lady Browning's 1936 novel. Hitchcock would film two more works by the authoress, the just mentioned 1938 novel "Rebecca" and a 1952 short story "The Birds".


Three screenplay writers were involved with turning the novel into a motion picture.

Sidney Gilliat was a writer on Hitchcock's 1938 "The Lady Vanishes" and wrote the original storyline for Robert Taylor's 1938 "A Yank at Oxford". Before those pictures, Gilliat wrote the Boris Karloff horror film 1936's "The Man Who Changed His Mind aka The Man Who Lived Again".

For Joan Harrison this was her first screenplay, but she followed it with in order both Alfred Hitchcock's  previously mentioned 1940 "Rebecca", and "Foreign Correspondent", his 1941 "Suspicion" starring Cary Grant, Joan Fontaine, and Sir Cedric Hardwick, and 1942's "Saboteur" starring Priscilla Lane, Robert Cummings, and Otto Kruger.

J.P, Priestley added additional dialogue. Priestley was a novelist, playwright, broadcaster, and social commentator, and wrote the 1927 novel "Benighted" that became the classic 1932 horror movie "The Old Dark House" directed by James Whale and would be remade by director William Castle in 1963 and as 1964's "The Horror of It All" directed by Terence Fisher.

Charles Laughton portrayed "Sir Humphrey Pengallan". Laughton proceeded this picture with 1938's "Sidewalks of London" co-starring with Vivien Leigh and Rex Harrison. He followed this feature with 1939's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" portraying "Quasimodo". My article "Victor Hugo's Immortal Love Story: THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME on the Motion Picture Screen" will be found at:

Maureen O'Hara portrayed "Mary Yellan". The opening credits for the film imply this was her first motion picture. Which was incorrect as this was her third on-screen appendence, but this picture is when the actress first used the last name of "O'Hara". For her first two films she used her birth name of Maureen FitzSimons.  

Leslie Banks portraying "Joss Merlyn". Just prior to the release of "Jamaica Inn", Banks had the title role of "Cyrano de Bergerac" in an early 1938 British television live broadcast with co-stars Constance Cummings and James Mason. 


Emlyn Williams portrayed "Harry the Peddler--Sir Humphrey's Gang". Writer and actor Williams had just starred in the British crime drama 1938's "They Drive by Night" not to be confused with the American film of that same name from 1940 starring George Raft, Humphrey Bogart and Ann Sheridan. He would follow this picture with a role in the Michael Redgrave and Margaret Lockwood 1940 "The Stars Look Down". As a screenplay writer he had added dialogue to director King Vidor's 1938 version of the A.J. Cronin novel "The Citadel" starring Robert Donat, Rosalind Russell, Sir Ralph Richardson, Rex Harrison and himself. 

Robert Newton
portrayed "James 'Jem' Trehearne--Sir Humphrey's Gang". Newton would be best remembered for portraying "Long John Silver" in Walt Disney's 1950 "Treasure Island", and recreating the role twice, first in the Australian 1954 "Long John Silver's Return to Treasure Island" and the 1956 television series "The Adventures of Long John Silver". My article "Robert Newton IS 'Long John Silver': The Definitive Motion Picture Pirate of the Caribbean" is ready for your enjoyment at

One does not normally think of Alfred Hitchcock making what the trades call "an Adventure film", but that was what "Jamaica Inn" was with just a touch of "the Thriller" thrown in. 

The real problem for Hitchcock was Charles Laughton, the co-producer with German born Erich Pommer, 1920's "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari", 1922's "Dr. Mabuse the Gambler" and 1927's "Metropolis". 

Charles Laughton was originally cast by Hitch as "Joss Merlyn". However, Laughton "recast himself" as "Sir Humphrey Pengallan" described in the original screenplay and by Daphne du Maurier as a villainess preacher. 

However, the American Production Code got in the way of "Sir Humphrey Pengallan preacher", if the producers wished to show the motion picture in the very profitable United States. That Code would not permit "unsympathetic portrayals of the clergy" and resulted in Laughton's character being changed to "a squire" to get around it

Next, Charles Laughton demanded more on-screen time than the screenplay had his character and this forced Alfred Hitchcock to "reveal Pengallan as the villain" far earlier than the director had wanted, killing the suspense. 

According to the website, "Brenton Film", Laughton was responsible for casting Maureen O'Hara in the film. He had seen her screen test and on this agreed with Alfred Hitchcock that her acting was "subpar", but he couldn't get her out of his mind and felt she was perfect for motion pictures. In fact, he brought her to Hollywood to co-star in 1939's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", or she might still be in the United Kingdom through her career.

After filming the picture, Alfred Hitchcock also moved to Hollywood to begin his contract with David O. Selznick.

The Screenplay:

The setting is 1820 during the reign of King George IV.  On the outside "Jamaica Inn" is a friendly rural English hostelry, but inside it is the headquarters of a gang of cut-throats and thieves led by the innkeeper "Joss Merlyn". The gang are wreckers, responsible for engineering the wrecks of several merchant ships on the Cornish coast, killing any survivors, and taking the cargo.

One evening a coach drops off a young Irish-woman named "Mary Yellan" at the house of the local Justice of the Peace, "Squire Pengallon", close to the "Jamaica Inn".

She asks the kindly Squire for the loan of a horse so she can ride to the "Jamaica Inn" to reunite with her "Aunt Patience", played by Marie Ney, the wife of "Josh Merlyn". Despite warnings from the squire, "Mary" plans to live at the Inn. 

Shortly after "Mary" is reunited with her aunt she discovers the truth about "Jamaica Inn" and that the kindly Squire is really the ring leader of the wreckers. He learns the details of a ship's cargo from his friends and acquaintances in their small talk and picks the ships to be wrecked. After he fences the cargo "Squire Pengallon" pays the wreckers, but keeps the majority of the money to maintain his lifestyle.

"Mary" discovers the part of the Inn the paying patron's never sees where the gang members meet. One time she overhears them discussing why they're not getting more money for their work. It is decided that a new member of only two months, "Jem Trehearne", is embezzling from them and they hang him from the rafters in the room. After they leave, "Mary" cuts the rope, frees "Jem", and the two swim to safety just avoiding being captured.


The following morning the two take a boat and row to shore and go to "Squire Pengallan" for perceived safety. "Jem" reveals that he is a British undercover agent on a mission to find and take down the wreckers, "Pengallan" feigns surprise at this news and promises to assist him with his mission.  

Having over heard the two men's discussion, "Mary" leaves and goes to "Jamaica Inn" to warn her "Aunt Patience", but her aunt will stay with her husband. Meanwhile, "Squire Pengallan" learns of another ship and informs "Joss" and "Joss" in turn the gang of wreckers.

The wreckers go to the beach and put out the coastal warning beacon fire and await the ship to crash upon the rocks. However, "Mary" relights the beacon and the ship sails to safety. The gang wants "Mary" killed and captures her, but "Josh" has developed a reluctant admiration for this wife's niece, rescues "Mary" and the two escape in a horse-cart. 

"Josh" and "Mary" reach "Jamaica Inn", but he is shot in the back by one of the gang members. Just as "Patience" is about to reveal that "Squire Pengallan" is the leader of the gang, she is shot, off camera, by "Pengallan" and both husband and wife die from their wounds. The Squire takes "Mary" as a hostage, ties her up, and as she has nobody else, he will keep her for himself. He next has both of them driven to a large ship in the harbor that is going to set sail for France.

Back at the "Jamaica Inn" "James Trehearne" arrives with a group of soldiers and they arrest the remaining wreckers. Finding out where "Mary" and the Squire have gone, "Jem" takes a horse and rides to the harbor, boards the ship and goes for "Squire Pengallan". 

"Squire Pengallon" now attempts to escape, a small chase on deck takes place as the Squire climbs up to the top of the ship's mast, and seeing no escape, jumps to his death yelling: 
Make way for Pengallan!

Many of the newspaper critics in both the United Kingdom and the United States attacked the screenplay vs the original novel. Daphne du Maurier's novel painted a more sinister picture and far darker characters. While the motion picture had at times a light-hearted tone with some camp scenes of "Squire Pengallan" a choice made by Charles Laughton for his portrayal. Also, the critics either overlooked, or seeming chose to ignore the impact of the United States Motion Production Code on the production.

And don't look for a cameo by Alfred Hitchcock in "Jamaica Inn", because this is one of his motion pictures without one.

On August 26, 1948 in New York City, Alfred Hitchcock's "Rope" starring James Stewart premiered. It had for some strange reason already been shown in Turkey, on August 23, 1948. 

The motion picture is described by film critic Roger Ebert in a retro review on June 15, 1984, in the "Chicago Sun Times" as:
one of the most interesting experiments ever attempted by a major director working with big box-office names 

Pick any review, in any city, in any state, at the time of the film's release, and they would sound similar to the August 17, 1948 review by the "New York Times" film critic Bosley Crowther who wrote that the:
novelty of the picture is not in the drama itself, it being a plainly deliberate and rather thin exercise in suspense, but merely in the method which Mr. Hitchcock has used to stretch the intended tension for the length of the little stunt" for a "story of meager range

The September 4, 1948 review by John McCarten in "The New Yorker" that told his reader:
In addition to the fact that it has little or no movement, 'Rope' is handicapped by some of the most relentlessly arch dialogue you ever heard.

In hindsight, Roger Ebert hit the proverbial nail-on-the-head, "Rope" was an experiment basically on a single set, with long camera shots, without any camera movement for as long as 10-minutes.

Donald Spoto in his biography "The Dark Side of Genius: The Life of Alfred Hitchcock", on page 306 quotes James Stewart as saying this about "Rope":

It was worth trying – nobody but Hitch would have tried it. But it really didn't work.

Above, the single sound stage set.

The purpose of my mentioning 1948's "Rope" is to set the stage for one other experiment in film making by Alfred Hitchcock and that was:

DIAL M FOR MURDER premiering in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on May 19, 1954

English playwright Frederick Knott wrote "Dial M For Murder" for the BBC's Sunday Night Theatre on March 23, 1952, after that live production, the play went to London's West End in June, and the Broadway Stage in October. 

Alfred Hitchcock had released "I Confess!", produced by Sidney Bernstein and, starring Montgomery Clift and Anne Baxter on February 12, 1953 in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. Hitchcock planned to work again with producer Bernstein, the two had also worked on 1948's "Rope" and 1949's "Under Capricorn" that had starred Ingrid Bergman, Joseph Cotton, and Michael Wilding, but Bernstein decided to retire. Besides, "Warner Brothers" wasn't interested in a project based upon author David Duncan's "The Bramble Bush" about a disaffected Communist agitator on the run. Not to be confused with the 1960 Richard Burton motion picture of the same name based upon a novel by Charles Mergendahl. 

What Jack L. Warner wanted was the director to make a motion picture in 3-D.

Hitchcock contacted Frederick Knott to write the screenplay for the motion picture with the idea that his "Dial M for Murder" was to be shot in the Third Dimension. While Hitchcock went to work on casting the feature. 

To make the sequence of Ray Milland dialing the fateful letter "M" and to utilize the full potential of the 3-D process. Alfred Hitchcock had a extremely large prop telephone constructed and a part human hand to be what was supposed to be Milland's finger going into the slot. Below, Hitch with the phone and one of the movie's shots of it.

Ray Milland portrayed "Tony Wendice". His latest release was the 3-D musical comedy, 1953's "Let's Do It Again" co-starring with Jan Wyman and Aldo Ray, and followed this film with the motion picture 1955's "The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing" co-starring Joan Collins and Farley Granger. While the actor was also appearing on his comedy television series "The Ray Milland Show", that run from 1953 through 1955.

Grace Kelly portrayed "Margot Wendice". Motion picture wise, Kelly had recently been seen in the remake of the Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, and Mary Astor 1932 "Red Dust", 1953's "Mogambo", with the location moved from French Indochina to Africa. In the picture Gable was recreating his role, Ava Gardner was in the Harlow role, and Grace Kelly portrayed the Mary Astor role. Kelly was also appearing in episodes of the television anthology series "Kraft Theatre". The actress followed this film with Alfred Hitchcock's 1954 "Rear Window" co-starring with James Stewart, Wendel Corey and Thelma Ritter. The unknown Raymond Burr portrayed the low keyed, white haired, murderer.

Robert Cummings portrayed "Mark Halliday". Cummings had just co-starred with Doris Day, and Phil Silvers in the 1954 musical comedy "Lucky Me", and followed the feature with appearances on five different television anthology series.

John Williams recreated his stage role of "Chief Inspector Hubbard". Williams had recently been in the 1952 motion picture "Thunder in the East" starring Alan Ladd, Deborah Kerr, Charles Boyer, and Corrine Calvert. He would follow this movie with director Billy Wilder's "Sabrina" starring Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn, and William Holden.

Anthony Dawson recreated his stage role of "Charles Swann". Scottish character actor Dawson had been appearing on American television anthology series since 1951 and returned to them and British television after making this motion picture.


The Screenplay:

The basic plot is very simple, but it's how Hitchcock filmed it that makes it work so well, or not.

Retired British tennis star "Tony Wendice" is married to rich socialite "Margo" who is having an affair with American crime fiction writer "Mark Halliday". What "Margo" and "Mark" don't know is that "Tony's" aware of their affair and plans on having his wife murdered so he can inherit her millions.

"Tony" is aware that an old Cambridge acquaintance, "Charles Swann", has become a petty crook and is the perfect pawn in his plan. Earlier, "Tony" had stolen his wife's handbag, found a letter from "Mark" about the affair, and blackmailed his wife for money. Now, meeting "Swann" to remember old times, he gets the petty crook to handle the envelope with the blackmail letter inside, placing his fingerprints on it. The clever thinking "Tony' now gives "Swann" an alternative, he can be given 1,000 pounds to murder his wife, or be turned in as "Margo's" blackmailer.  

"Tony's" cleverly thought-out plan has him going to a party with "Mark", but leaving "Margo" at home. Under the foyer carpet to their flat, "Tony" will place "Margo's" latchkey, After, "Margo" has gone to bed, "Swan" will silently enter the flat and hide. From the party, "Tony" will call home and when "Margo" goes to answer the telephone, "Swan" will come out of hiding, murder her, place the latchkey back in "Margo's" purse, leave signs of a burglary, and leave.

The following night "Margo" is asleep and "Swan" enters the flat and hides near the telephone. 

Above, Ray Milland impatiently waits for the uncredited Sam Harris to get off the telephone. Below, Milland "Dials M for Murder".


"Tony" makes the call with the emphasis scene of him dialing the letter "M" in the phone number.
As "Margo"" goes to the phone, behind her "Swann" comes out of hiding, but before he can kill her with his scarf, "Margo" feels a pair of scissors on the table she is against, grabs them and stabs "Swann" in the back, killing her would be murderer as "Tony" listens on the phone.


"Tony" needs to think fast as his plan has gone astray and as "Margo" pleads for help, he tells her not to talk to anyone. Coming home, "Tony" now calls the police, tells "Margo" to go to bed, takes the latchkey from "Swann's" pocket and replaces it in "Margo's" handbag as he plans to frame her for murder.

He next plants "Mark's" letter in "Swann's" pocket and the following day, before they meet with "Inspector Hubbard", "Tony" is able to convince "Margo" not to mention that he told her not to call the police while they were on the phone.

"Margo" and "Tony" now meet with the inspector, who states that "Swann" had to enter through the flats front door.

"Tony" remarks that "Swann" after stealing "Margo's" handbag must have made a duplicate key and used it to enter the flat. As he expected such an answer, "Inspector Hubbard" doesn't believe the story and arrests "Margo" for murder with the motive being "Swann's" blackmail. "Margot" is sentenced to death and all "Tony" needs to do is await the sentence being carried out and he inherits his wife's fortune.

Months later on the day before "Margo" is to be executed, "Mark" comes to see "Tony" and explains a story he has devised that will allow "Tony" to save "Margo". It revolves around the other having paid "Swann" to kill his wife, but before "Tony" can respond. "Inspector Hubbard" unexpectedly arrives and "Mark" goes into the bedroom to hide.

"Mark" overhears "Hubbard" asking about the large sums of money "Tony's" been spending around town, tricking him into revealing where he keeps his latchkey, and then a question about where is "Tony's" attaché case? "Tony" replies he misplaced the case, but curious "Mark" looking around the bedroom finds it under the bed. When he opens it the case is full of bank notes and "Mark" deduces this was 'Tony's" intended pay off of "Swann". He goes into the other room to confront "Tony" and explains his theory to "Inspector Hubbard".

However, "Tony" claims that was "Margo's" blackmail payoff money to "Swann", but he hid it to protect his wife. "Inspector Hubbard" appears to believe "Tony's" explanation and "Mark" angerly leaves the other two men. "Hubbard" discreetly swaps his raincoat for "Tony's" when the other is not looking, thanks him, and leaves. He waits until "Tony" leaves his flat and the building and returns to the flat letting himself in with "Tony's" latchkey and is followed in by "Mark".

"Inspector Hubbard" had already discovered that the latchkey in "Margo's" handbag was "Swann's" own and he must have replaced the other latchkey back to where it came from before entering the flat. Now, correctly suspecting "Tony" of hiring "Swann" to murder his wife he reveals his elaborate plan to trap "Tony",

Plainclothes policemen bring "Margo" back to the flat. "Hubbard" asks her to unlock the front door with the latchkey in her handbag, as he expected, it does not work. She then goes to the garden to get into the flat, proving she has no knowledge of the hidden key. 

"Inspector Hubbard" has one of the police officers return the handbag to the police station. While "Tony" discovers his key is missing from the raincoat. He goes to the police station and retrieves "Margo's" hand bag. Next, he returns to the flat, takes out the latchkey in the handbag, tries it, but it won't work. "Tony" then looks under the foyer carpet, finds the key, and enters the flat to find "Hubbard", "Mark" and "Margo", realizing his escape routes are blocked by the police. "Tony" calmly walks over to the bar, makes himself a drink, and congratulates the inspector.

Why Jack Warner wanted Alfred Hitchcock to film a motion picture in the Third Dimension at this time was questionable. Director Gordon Douglas had what became the science fiction classic 1954's "THEM!" in post-production having been filmed in 3-D. Warner cancelled release of the picture in that process, because of the declining box office and this was prior to the start of filming "Dial M for Murder". 

This question is proved out by the "Philadelphia Inquirer", on May 23, 1954, with a typical upon release article about "Dial M for Murder", their film critic Mildred Martin wrote that the:
first audiences proved to be a jury that could not only make up its mind, but could make it up in a hurry. In exhibitors' own terms, "DIAL M" literally died. And after just four performances on Wednesday, some long-distance telephoning to report complaints, the increasing skimpiness of customers—a good many of them making no bones of their dissatisfaction—permission was given to throw away the glasses and hastily switch to the 2-D version. Whereupon business at the Randolph took a turn for the better.
"Dial M for Murder's" 3-D versions were pulled by "Warner Brothers". My article 'THIRD DIMENSION the Golden Age of 3-D Movies 1952-1955" that if you have a pair of those blue-red glasses includes the entire sequence in 3-D of "Margo" and "Swann", can be read at:

The following is a photograph seen on a table for Ray Milland's "Tony's" class reunion about 13 minutes into "Dial M for Murder". 

The last motion picture I want to look at is a mostly forgotten comedy mystery from the master.

THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY released in Barre, Vermont, on September 30, 1955

"The Trouble With Harry" was sandwiched between two classics from Alfred Hitchcock which helped this movie to disappear in people's minds. Hitch had previously released Cary Grant and Grace Kelly in 1955's "To Catch a Thief" and followed this comedy mystery with 1956's "The Man Who Knew Too Much" with James Stewart and Doris Day, "Que Sera Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)"

The screenplay was based upon the 1950 novel of the same title by Jack Trevor Story. The screenplay was written by John Michael Hayes. For Alfred Hitchcock, Hayes wrote the screenplays to 1954's "Rear Window", 1955's "To Catch a Thief", 1956's "The Man Who Knew Too Much", and among his now Hitchcock screenplays were, 1957's "Peyton Place", 1960's "Butterfield 8", and 1964's "The Carpetbaggers".

Edmund Gwenn
portrayed "Captain Albert Wiles". Gwenn's previous movie was 1954's "THEM!", otherwise he was appearing on television anthologies.

John Forsythe portrayed "Sam Marlowe". Forsythe's last motion picture was the Civil War western 1953's "Escape from Fort Bravo" co-starring Willian Holden and Eleanor Parker. Otherwise, he was appearing on different dramatic television anthology series.

Shirley MacLaine portrayed "Jennifer Rodgers". This was MacLaine's first motion picture appearance and she would follow it with 1955's "Artists and Models" co-starring with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.

Mildred Natwick portrayed "Mrs. Ivy Gravey". She had been appearing otherwise only on television anthologies since John Ford's 1952 "The Quiet Man" with John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara.

Royal Dano portrayed "Deputy Sheriff Calvin Wiggs". Character actor Dano was mainly appearing on television. His last film appearance was 1954's "The Far Country" starring James Stewart, Ruth Roman, and Corinne Calvert.

Jerry Mathers portrayed "Arnie Rodgers". Mathers had been acting since 1952 and this was his third motion picture. From 1957 through 1963 he portrayed "Theodore 'Beaver' Cleavor" on televisions "Leave It to Beaver".

The plot is that the somewhat quirky residents of Highwater, Vermont, are faced with a slight problem, "Harry Worp", played by Phillip Truex. It seems his dead body turned up on a hillside one morning and "The Trouble With Harry" is to some residents who is he? Who was responsible for his sudden death? What should be done with his body?

"Captain Wiles" thinks he killed "Harry" while hunting with a stray bullet, but it turns out the bullet killed a rabbit. His estranged wife, "Jennifer Rodgers" thinks she killed him by hitting "Harry" too hard with an empty milk bottle. "Miss Gravely" is certain he died after a blow from her hiking boot, when he lunged at her out of the bushes. While non-conformist artist and new resident "Sam Marlowe" will help out his new friends and neighbors in anyway he can. 

During the day the different killers move, hide, bury, unbury, and rebury the body each believes they killed.

More to the point than being sandwiched between two of Alfred Hitchcock's hits was the October 18, 1955 review in the "New York Times" film critic Bosley Crowther:
It is not a particularly witty or clever script that John Michael Hayes has put together from a novel by Jack Trevor Story, nor does Mr. Hitchcock's direction make it spin. The pace is leisurely, almost sluggish, and the humor frequently is strained ... But it does possess mild and mellow merriment all the way. The performers are beguiling in a briskly artificial style, and there's an especially disarming screwball blandness about the manner of Miss MacLaine 

"The Trouble With Harry" is solved when everyone finds out he died naturally. 

As I started my article mentioning, that except for "Dial M for Murder" that may at least known by name, my five motion pictures are mainly unknown by the average fan of Alfred Hitchcock, but perhaps not anymore. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Gordon Douglas: The Little Rascals (Our Gang) - Giant Ants - and Francis Albert Sinatra

When asked to name a "Classic Film Director", depending upon how much you're into motion pictures, what's your favorite ge...