Rich And Strange (1931)
Genre: Romantic Comedy Drama (UK)
Starring: Henry Kendall, Joan Barry
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock (The Trouble With Harry, To Catch A Thief)
Overview: A common couple earn a surprise inheritance with directions to travel the world. While they cruise, they find that their marriage may end up crashing on the rocks.
Acting: Joan and her home-wrecking suitor are amazing in this, regardless of their crappy accents and highborn behaviour, which I've grown to detest in early thirties Brit-film, however Henry the husband acts a little too stupid for his own good. Mental note: don't be comic when you're on a SINKING SHIP. The woman he is tempted by is also a little too much of a joke... sadly that wasn't on purpose...
Cinematography: I could see that from time to time Hitchcock did an interesting thing here and there, like people opening their umbrellas in unison as they go out in the rain, two by two, but overall I think this is an editing failure near the caliber of Champagne. I appreciate what Hitchcock did with his scenes however and though this film was a disaster, he at least kept the visuals as professional and dynamic as possible.
Script: What I found strangest was the constant use of intertitles. It's not the Silent Era, stop using their safety net of narration. Granted, one of the uses was witty, but it seemed so weird and out of place. Were there great speeches or life-lessons to be taught in this one? Hardly, but again, Hitchcock did what he could with what he was given.
Plot: There's good news, and then there's bad news. The good news is that for once, this story isn't about a love triangle. The bad news is, it's a love rectangle, where both the husband AND the wife find themselves tempted. I guess what I'm saying is I've seen worse. The establishing intro and the beginning of their voyage is enjoyable, but altogether the story was too long, even though the film was 83 minutes...
Mood: I know that this was marketed as part comedy, and the comedic feel exists from time to time in small acts of bumbling, in goofy music or the occasional clever montage, like comparing the long time it takes to cross the English Channel with the long time it takes to cross a hotel lobby to get to one's room in a drunken stupor, though these moments are so few and far between that this drama would have been improved by more definition of the funny good times when compared to the very serious plot elements. It's so ridiculously out of place sometimes that you wonder what the good 'ol Hitch was thinking.
Overall Rating: 62% (Weak And Dull)
Aftertaste: When judging a film's mood, I focus on its genre and its themes then I ask myself, "did this suck me in, was I sold on the believability or satisfied with the fantasy?" I'm resistant to appreciate Romantic films and especially Romantic Comedy, but when one tries to be Wuthering Heights with physical bumblings and boinging sound effects out of some Keaton short, who on earth would ever think such a thing would be appreciated, or even remembered? Clearly Hitchcock started making films worthy of being favorites later in his career.
I'm just about at the end of my Rope, sick with Vertigo about it. I have a sinking Suspicion that I have just one more movie to see before I can Frenzy on his greatest stuff, though I'm sure that one's for The Birds anyways...