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.


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.


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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