MURDER!
1930, Rialto Pictures, 92 min, UK, Dir: Alfred Hitchcock

The plight of the wrongly accused was something director Alfred Hitchcock returned to often in his career; here a young actress (Norah Baring) is mistakenly condemned for murder. Enter Sir John Menier (a wonderfully affable Herbert Marshall), a juror browbeaten into a guilty verdict who decides to investigate the woman’s case on his own. Hitchcock’s resourcefulness in the early sound era can be seen in the shaving sequence, where Sir John’s thoughts were prerecorded and played back on set, and the radio music he’s listening to is an orchestra performing offscreen.


THE SKIN GAME
1931, Rialto Pictures, 77 min, UK, Dir: Alfred Hitchcock

Director Alfred Hitchcock zeros in on class conflict in this film - specifically the conflict between the old-money Hillcrest and the nouveau riche Hornblower families. The two face off at a land auction (in a sequence that’s among the best of Hitchcock’s early British talkies), but a young woman is ruined in the process. Edmund Gwenn and Phyllis Konstam are excellent as the industrialist Hornblower and his disgraced daughter-in-law.


RICH AND STRANGE
1931, Rialto Pictures, 83 min, UK, Dir: Alfred Hitchcock

Released in America as EAST OF SHANGHAI, this quirky mix of satire and adventure, with vestiges of silent film, is also a rewarding look at marital relationships (and is said to be an early favorite of its director). London couple Fred and Emily Hill (Henry Kendall and Joan Barry) are roused from their humdrum lives by an inheritance from a rich relative, which they use to travel the world - until the now-wealthy couple are tugged apart by the promise of shipboard romances.


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