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The Ring (1927)

 
0001.jpg
director Alfred Hitchcock
producer John Maxwell
writer Alfred Hitchcock
starring Carl Brisson
Lillian Hall-Davis
Ian Hunter
cinematographer Jack E. Cox
 
running time 94 minutes (8445 feet)
colour black & white
sound mix silent with English intertitles
aspect ratio 1.33:1
studio British International Pictures
distributor Wardour Films (UK)
availability DVD
 

Synopsis

"One Round" Jack is a boxer who fights in bazaars. He is engaged to Nelly. Without revealing his true identity, the Australian champion Bob Corby, who is falling in love with Nelly, challenges Jack. "One round" loses and Bob, who wants to be close to Nelly, hires Jack as his sparring partner. A short time passes until Bob and Nelly run away together. Jack is now in training for his revenge. He challenges Bob in the Albert Hall.

Production

Hitchcock had joined British International Pictures (BIP) in June 1927, shortly after completing "Easy Virtue" for Gainsborough — John Maxwell's offer of a higher salary (£13,000 per annum), more creative freedom and better studio facilities was enough to tempt the director away from Michael Balcon's studio.[1][2]

Pre-Production

Hall-Davis and Brisson

Screenplay

As early as April 1927, Hitchcock had been talking about his idea for a film based around the boxing and a scenario was already complete prior to joining BIP. Although Hitchcock is the sole named writer in the film's credits, there is evidence that both Eliot Stannard and Walter C. Mycroft were involved in the development of the scenario. [3][4]

Casting

According to Patrick McGilligan, Hitchcock had more control over casting than he had at Gainsborough and hand-picked Lillian Hall-Davis, Carl Brisson and Ian Hunter as the 3 leads, and Gordon Harker as the Brisson's trainer.[5]

Crew

Respected and experienced cameraman Jack Cox, an expert at "in camera" effects such as dissolves, overlays and double-exposures, was selected as cinematographer and would go on to work with Hitchcock on all of his BIP films.[6]

Principal Photography

filming at Elstree

Filming took place during July and August 1927.

With a larger budget than before, the fairground used in the opening section of the film was built on the lot at Elstree Studios and hundreds of extras were hired.[7]

The film's climax allowed Hitchcock to experiment with the Schüfftan process to seemingly stage the scene within the Royal Albert Hall.[8]

Release & Reception

With impressive speed, the film was edited in early September and previewed to the trade towards the end of the month.[9]

The Guardian review noted Hitchcock's "unusual resource and inventiveness in camera work, and a flair for the comic, pull him through easily, with a series of neat effects" and concluded by saying, "If British films as a whole can rise to this standard, the masterpieces will not be lacking, and, quota or no quota, the new industry will be firmly established".[10]

Similarly, The Times reported that the "opening scenes at a fair are remarkable for variety in photographic angle and for imaginative use of light" and that the "film as a whole marks a considerable technical advance".[11]

film frame

A special editorial in The Bioscope addressed Hitchcock directly:[12][13]

You have set the standard not only for your own company but for every British producer, and if future British films only approach "The Ring" in quality, we need have no fears for the ultimate success of the entire producing industry in this country.

Our first hope is that you will long continue to make films in this country, because the producing industry — which owes you a debt of gratitude — can ill afford to be without your talent.

With Jack Cox's skill with special effects and unusual camera setups, Hitchcock was able to create a surprisingly expressionistic British film which American film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum described as "the most Germanic in style of Hitchcock's silent films".[14]

Preservation Status

As part of the "Save the Hitchcock 9" campaign, started in 2010, the British Film Institute undertook a full restoration of "The Ring". As part of their research, the BFI discovered that the only surviving negative (an export version from the French archives) is, in fact, mostly made up of alternative takes of each scene.[15] Instead, acetate duplicating positives of both "The Ring" and "The Farmer's Wife" from the 1960s are now the earliest-generation sources of the original films.[16]

See Also...

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

DVD Releases

released in 2008

0708.gif Le Masque de Cuir (1927) / À l'Américaine (1928) - Studio Canal (France, 2008)
PAL 1.33:1

released in 2007

0707.gif The Ring (1927) - Lionsgate (USA, 2007)
NTSC 1.33:1
0706.gif The Ring (1927) - Optimum Releasing (UK, 2007)
PAL 1.33:1

...view older DVD releases

Image Gallery

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Film Frames

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Themes

Cast and Crew

Directed by:

Starring:

Produced by:

Written by:

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Art Direction by:

Visual Effects by

References

  1. "Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light" - by Patrick McGilligan, pages 94-95
  2. "Alfred Hitchcock and the British Cinema" - by Tom Ryall, page 92
  3. "Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light" - by Patrick McGilligan, page 94
  4. Hitchcock was keen on attending sporting events, especially boxing, football, tennis and table tennis
  5. "Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light" - by Patrick McGilligan, page 95
  6. "Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light" - by Patrick McGilligan, pages 95-96
  7. "Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light" - by Patrick McGilligan, pages 96-97
  8. "Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light" - by Patrick McGilligan, page 97
  9. "Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light" - by Patrick McGilligan, page 98
  10. The Guardian (09/Nov/1927) - The Ring: Mr. Carl Brisson in Films
  11. The Times (22/Nov/1927) - Entertainments
  12. "Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light" - by Patrick McGilligan, page 98
  13. "Alfred Hitchcock and the British Cinema" - by Tom Ryall, page 93
  14. "Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light" - by Patrick McGilligan, page 97
  15. Standard Hollywood practice at the time was to use two side-by-side cameras to generate two near-identical negatives (one being for export). However, BIP seem to have constructed their export negatives using the unused alternative takes of each scene.
  16. Journal of Film Preservation (2012) - London - Restoring Hitchcock by Kieron Webb & Bryony Dixon
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 )