Worth 3 1/2 stars really. (Consider "The Alfred Hitchcock Bo
tendays komyathy | U.S.A. & elsewhere traveling | 04/18/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"There's something about a silent film, a good silent film, that is just captivating to watch; and "watch" is what we do with silent films, after all, isn't it? Too many more modern films, by comparison, are all talk (often inanely so), devoid of much visual appeal. I think this accounts for Hitchcock's success (John Ford's and others too); his having started in the silent era when "Lights, camera, action" had to carry the day without the added benefit (or crutch as it is sometimes) of sound. That's why this film, "Murder," Hitchcock's second talkie (made in 1930), for the most part, is effective. It has all the feel of a silent film, relying heavily on the visual for dramatic effect. Story wise, it bears some similarity to the later made courtroom drama "12 Angry Men," but in Hitchcock's "Murder" the Henry Fonda character (played ably by Herbert Marshall) doesn't stand his ground in the jury room and thus has to make up for it after the fact by trying to ascertain whether the person he went along with condemning really did, in fact, do it. Norah Baring plays the condemned lady and is vibrantly intriguing to watch, particularly---as it were a silent film---when she says nothing at all. Extra helpings of dialogue for her would have been patently superfluous. "Murder" thus is certainly a film worth having a look at. Full disclosure: I am an avowed fan of silent films & prefer Hitchcock's efforts in black & white to his more colorful works (in which shadow---something Hitch excelled at creating---cannot be as effectively employed). Warning! This version of this early Hitchcock film is not high quality, but is still captivating (especially if you're a Hitch fan; others might find this DVD's poor quality & sound too much of a distraction). You would be much better off to consider The Alfred Hitchcock Box Set (The Ring / The Manxman / Murder! / The Skin Game / Rich and Strange) to get a version of this film that is 12 minutes longer than this version, and one that has been cleaned-up. Cheers!"