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Murder! (1930)

 
0002.jpg
director Alfred Hitchcock
producer John Maxwell
writer Walter C. Mycroft
Alfred Hitchcock
story by Clemence Dane
Helen Simpson
starring Herbert Marshall
Norah Baring
cinematographer Jack E. Cox
editor Rene Marrison
 
running time 108 minutes (9,700 feet)
colour black & white
sound mix mono (RCA Photophone System)
aspect ratio 1.33:1
studio British International Pictures
availability DVD
 

Synopsis

An actress in a travelling theatre group is murdered and Diana Baring, another member of the group is found suffering from amnesia standing by the body. Diana is tried and convicted of the murder, but Sir John Menier a famous actor on the jury is convinced of her innocence. Sir John sets out to find the real murderer before Diana's death sentence is carried out.

Production

After completing "Juno and the Paycock", Hitchcock directed the short "An Elastic Affair" and was involved with the musical comedy review "Elstree Calling".

Enter Sir John was the first of three detective novels written by Helen Simpson and Winifred Ashton (under the pseudonym of Clemence Dane) and published in 1928. The two then collaborated on Author Unknown (1930) and a follow-up to the first book, Re-enter Sir John (1932).

For several years, British International Pictures had been partnering with European studios to create bilingual productions — using a different cast, the foreign language version of the film would be shot at the same time as the English version. Studio head John Maxwell selected "Enter Sir John" to be such a production and Hitchcock travelled to the Süd-Film studio in Berlin to discuss a German version of the film — eventually released in 1931 as "Mary".

Pre-Production

Screenplay

The novel was adapted by Hitchcock and Walter C. Mycroft, with Alma Reville working on the scenario.

The German version was written by Georg C. Klaren and Herbert Juttke.

Casting

Principal Photography

Filming began on both versions of the film in March 1930.[1]

The production started before the screenplay's dialogue had been fully completed and Hitchcock encouraged the cast to improvise their lines during the unfinished scenes:[2]

I would explain the meaning of the scene to the actors and suggest that they make up their own dialogue. The result wasn't good; there was too much faltering. They would carefully think over what they were about to say and we didn't get the spontaneity I had hoped for. The timing was wrong and it had no rhythm.[3]

Filming wrapped during May and the editing of both versions of the film was completed before the Hitchcock's took a short break in August.

Release & Reception

In a December article reviewing the progress of sound films, The Times commented that "Mr. Hitchcock shows great ingenuity in the grouping and isolation of his sounds and a visual adroitness which constantly evades the obstacle of dialogue though it cannot altogether escape it."[4]

Speaking to Truffaut, Hitchcock summarised "Murder!" as "an interesting film and was quite successful in London. But it was too sophisticated for the provinces."[5]

See Also...

For further relevant information about this film, see also...

DVD Releases

released in 2008

1317.gif Meurtre (1930) - Studio Canal (France, 2008)
R2 PAL 1.33:1

released in 2007

1316.gif Murder! (1930) - Lionsgate (USA, 2007) - part of a box set
R1 NTSC 1.33:1
1315.gif Murder! (1930) - Optimum Releasing (UK, 2007) - part of a box set
R2 PAL 1.33:1

...view older DVD releases

Image Gallery

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Film Frames

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Themes

Cast and Crew

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Starring:

Produced by:

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References

  1. "Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light" - by Patrick McGilligan, page 136
  2. "The Encyclopedia of Alfred Hitchcock" - by Thomas M. Leitch, page 223
  3. "Hitchcock" - by François Truffaut, page 75
  4. The Times (19/Dec/1930) - Sound and dialogue films: recent experiments
  5. "Hitchcock" - by François Truffaut, 77
Hitchcock's Major Films
1920s The Pleasure Garden · The Mountain Eagle · The Lodger · Downhill · Easy Virtue · The Ring · The Farmer's Wife · Champagne · The Manxman · Blackmail
1930s Juno and the Paycock · Murder! · The Skin Game · Rich and Strange · Number Seventeen · Waltzes from Vienna · The Man Who Knew Too Much · The 39 Steps · Secret Agent · Sabotage · Young and Innocent · The Lady Vanishes · Jamaica Inn
1940s Rebecca · Foreign Correspondent · Mr and Mrs Smith · Suspicion · Saboteur · Shadow of a Doubt · Lifeboat · Spellbound · Notorious · The Paradine Case · Rope · Under Capricorn
1950s Stage Fright · Strangers on a Train · I Confess · Dial M for Murder · Rear Window · To Catch a Thief · The Trouble with Harry · The Man Who Knew Too Much · The Wrong Man · Vertigo · North by Northwest
1960s Psycho · The Birds · Marnie · Torn Curtain · Topaz
1970s Frenzy · Family Plot
( view full filmography )