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.

MR. & MRS. SMITH (1941)
1941, Warner Bros., 91 min, USA, Dir: Alfred Hitchcock

Yes, there is a screwball comedy among the Hitchcock oeuvre, and a highly amusing one at that. When Robert Montgomery tells wife Carole Lombard that he wouldn’t marry her again, he soon regrets the joke - it turns out that, due to a technicality, their marriage was never valid, and that friend Gene Raymond has a thing for the suddenly available Lombard.

1934, Park Circus, 75 min, UK, Dir: Alfred Hitchcock

Director Alfred Hitchcock’s first version of the thriller about a family of tourists drawn into international intrigue was one of the greatest successes of his pre-Hollywood career. Vacationing British couple Leslie Banks and Edna Best stumble onto an assassination plot; to ensure their cooperation, head killer Peter Lorre kidnaps their daughter. With a more charismatic villain and a climactic shootout (inspired by a real-life incident), this economical thriller is more sinister than Hitchcock’s 1956 remake.

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