The Ring (1927)
Genre: Silent Drama (UK)
Starring: Carl Brisson, Lillian Hall-Davis
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock (The 39 Steps, The Man Who Knew Too Much)
Overview: When 'One-Round' Jack gets beat in a boxing match, his woman seems to prefer the other man. Jack does what he can to defend his honour and keep his dame out of his opponent's golden gloves.
Acting: The roles aren't anything deep, but still they do a great job, especially Lillian. She portrays a woman who isn't this cold-hearted bitch, but rather just a woman who knows what she wants and perhaps doesn't realize the impact her desire has on those around her. You don't feel that she's this cruel vixen, and I commend the crew for letting someone who could have gone so bad so quick stay human.
Cinematography: There's a few more worthy scenes in this one that in our last viewing, but perhaps I'm a little biased given that boxing is my favorite sport. Come to think of it, a boxing montage during that 'rise through the ring' scene would have been preferable to watching a sticker with a name on it climb up a rankings wall. Either way, though professionally shot, there is yet not any sign of what I would call the 'Hitchcock signature' on the visuals of this film.
Script: The script for this one was 'basic explanation', serving simply to take the plot in the direction that you know it's going in, no twists, nothing strange. There was one party scene however, where the husband-to-be becomes jealous of 'the other man'. The dialogue is all too slow in coming, with too much space filled with partying, killing the pace and flow. Lessons learned: if a scene is just about dialogue, let the characters speak it through, rather than drawing it out and wasting film on watching people's lips move as they walk around dancing.
Plot: Simply put, it's a love triangle, and in the early days, it's obvious that Hitchcock was fond of love triangles. I'm surprised he went the way of the thriller given his penchant for double-crossing ladies. Come to think of it, what is a thriller without a psycho-jealous female? I guess it's Hitchcock's way of naturally progressing to a perfect form... Anyways, the story of a man who's woman likes winners makes her change her tune when her man gets knocked out in the ring. Simple as that, and predictable, sure, but a fun ride nonetheless.
Mood: The main theme is jealousy and rightly so. My favorite shot, the one that perfectly conveys the entire plot, would have to be during the wedding. As the husband places the ring on her finger, the bride's upper-arm bracelet, a gift from the other man, drops down her arm to her wrist, expressing in a simple symbol the entire issue at hand... pardon the pun.
Overall Rating: 70% (Not Quite a Knock-Out)
Aftertaste: This is really the only thing Alfred Hitchcock directed that is credited as having been out and out written by himself, and by that I mean it's not an adaptation or lifted from a novel. Though it's not a deep tale with twists and turns I'm surprised he didn't write more. I guess directing two to three movies a year can keep a man pretty occupied...