The Farmer's Wife (1928)
Hahah! Eyeballs are funny!
Genre: Silent Romantic Comedy Drama (UK)
Starring: Jameson Thomas, Lillian Hall-Davis (The Ring)
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock (Lifeboat; Rebecca)
Overview: An aging farmer decides that he's going to get married. He compiles a list of suitable wives, then goes a knockin', door to door.
Acting: We have here a fine example of the directorial reigns that Hitchcock could muster up. Combined with that we have some severe characterization rich with the culture of the Silent Era film, slightly over-expressive, but comically so. If you want to see a Hitchcock oldie that also represents the better side of this decade's acting, this is pretty bang on. A quality performance by all.
Cinematography: Why in God's name did anyone beg and plead for the talkie when the versatility of the silent film camera allowed for so much better? Alright enough of that... but why didn't they at least shoot PART of films without synch sound? Grr... Anyways, we have here a nice little rustic film with some quality scenes and it's well made and there you go.
Script: And on top of everything else, it's actually FUNNY. I even laughed out loud on several occasions. You see, every time our farmer gets rejected, though polite it may be, he always takes it the wrong way and flips out on the ladies, insulting them as best he can before storming out. The way the characters are allows for comical scenarios too. No this wasn't full of laughs, but at least it was 'funny cute'.
Plot: Predictable from the onset, we have a story about a guy who writes four names down on a piece of paper, and as soon as he leaves the house you just know this is going to end with all of them rejecting him until something climactic happens at the end and everything turns out peachy keen (or something). That something is just as predictable as anything, but maybe, just maybe the fact that this was released in 1928 makes this transparent plot completely original back then... yeah right.
Mood: That's right, a romantic comedy by Alfred Hitchcock, and you know what, this is yet again proof that this man's earliest and decent works got noticed well enough that he got a job working for no-imagination producers, thinking he'd be better off. Well it almost cost him his career, a frightening thought. Now, as romantic comedies go, this is decent, though the musical score got usurped in my new fashion of playing what I like in the background while the film runs on mute. I'll tell you though, two hours and 10 minutes is way too long for this kind of story. Why this happens so often, I'll never know...
Uh yeah, she actually IS as annoying as she looks, so uh... great casting...poor lady...
Overall Rating: 68% (Yeah, I'm Not Married To It Either...)
Aftertaste: Only Juno And The Paycock remains and I'm really not looking forward to that, but at the same time when people ask me "Why don't you just watch his good stuff?", I'm reminded of how impressed I was with the ending of The Pleasure Garden, or the montage work in Downhill. I never would have thought that those two films would be anywhere near as impressive as they were, and I was pleasantly surprised. This sort of devotion to a study of film may have its down side, but if I get just a few good original minutes out of something, it might just make a film worth my while.