Posts Tagged ‘robert donat’

This 1935 Alfred Hitchcock film revolves around an innocent man, Richard Hannay (Robert Donat), who tries to help out a woman in distress, only to find himself accused of murdering her when she is stabbed by an unknown assailant.  He goes on the run, not only to save himself, but also to try to stop classified government information getting into the wrong hands.  Along the way, he encounters one problem after another, and meets up with unwilling accomplice Pamela (Madeleine Carroll).

The film explores themes that Hitchcock would return to some 24 years later, in North By Northwest.  I far preferred the later film, possibly because it starred Cary Grant, who I like a lot.  However, Robert Donat does a great job here, and provides a number of darkly comic moments, in addition to the suspense of the plot.

However, while I can appreciate the film, I didn’t hugely enjoy it.  It kept my attention, but is less than an hour and a half long – I think I would have found it difficult to stay focussed if it had been much longer.  Part of this is in no way the fault of the film itself; I just don’t think it has aged particularly well.  Also, the lack of technological wizardry of the time (as opposed to the technology available to film-makers today) mean that the picture can be slightly fuzzy and the sound isn’t always very clear.  While this cannot be helped, and it isn’t fair to judge films from the 1930s by the standards of films today in this respect, it perhaps contributed to the reason why I found it less enjoyable than I’d hoped.

Worth watching though, especially for Hitchcock fans – this movie really is recognisable as one of his, and I’d be interested in reading the book on which it was based.

Year of release: 1935

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Writers: John Buchan (book), Charles Bennett, Ian Hay

Main cast: Robert Donat, Madeleine Carroll

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