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.


MARY
1931, Rialto Pictures, 78 min, Germany/UK, Dir: Alfred Hitchcock

Early talkies were occasionally produced in parallel in different languages, and this version of MURDER! made for the German market was shot on the same sets at the same time as the English-language thriller. A juror (Alfred Abel) who reluctantly voted to convict a woman (Olga Tschechowa) of murder investigates the case, trying to resolve his doubts before her execution. In German with English subtitles.


TORN CURTAIN
1966, Universal, 128 min, USA, Dir: Alfred Hitchcock

With spy films all the rage in the mid-1960s, director Alfred Hitchcock delves into cloak-and-dagger territory in this underrated Cold War thriller. Physicist Paul Newman defects to East Germany with fiancée Julie Andrews - but he is actually a double agent on the hunt for missile technology. Fast-moving and beautifully shot, TORN CURTAIN includes indelible supporting performances from Lila Kedrova, Tamara Toumanova and Wolfgang Kieling (as a particularly hard-to-kill security officer), and a tense museum sequence that inspired a similar scene in Wes Anderson’s THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL.


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