Alfred Hitchcock (left), John Longden (center) and Anny Ondra (right).
Photograph: courtesy Austrian Film Museum.
Also known as Erpressung in Germany
B&W : 96 minutes
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Cast: Anny Ondra [Alice White], Sara Allgood [Mrs. White], Charles Paton [Mr. White], John Longden [Detective Frank Webber], Donald Calthrop [Tracy], Cyril Ritchard [Mr. Crewe, the artist], Hannah Jones [Mrs. Humphries, the landlady], Harvey Braban [chief inspector], ex-Detective Sergeant Bishop [detective sergeant]; Sam Livesey [chief inspector], Phyllis Monkman [gossip], Percy Parsons [crook], Johnny Butt [sergeant], Alfred Hitchcock [man on subway reading book], voice of Joan Barry [voice of Alice White]
British International Pictures, Limited, production; distributed by Wardour Films, Limited. / Screenplay by Alfred Hitchcock, Benn W. Levy and Charles Bennett + [Garnett Weston] with dialogue by Benn W. Levy, from the adaptation by Alfred Hitchcock of the play adaptation Blackmail by Charles Bennett based on the novel Blackmail by Charles Bennett. Art direction by W.C. Arnold (C. Wilfred Arnold) and Norman G. Arnold. Assistant director, Frank Mills. Still photography by Michael Powell. Cinematography by Jack Cox (John J. Cox). Sound recording by Harold King. Edited by Emile de Ruelle. Music by Campbell & Connolly, complied and arranged by Hubert Bath and Harry Stafford. / Trade show premiere, 21 June 1929 in England. / Photophone 35mm spherical 1.20:1 format and Standard 35mm spherical 1.33:1 format. RCA Photophone sound-on-film sound system. / Hitchcock’s tenth film. The film was planned as a silent film, and was switched to sound shooting during production. Ronald Neame worked on the film as clapper slate handler. Joan Barry, off-camera, provided Ondra’s voice as she mouths the words. Braban replaced Livesey in the sound version. Hitchcock makes an appearance in the film in the subway car, bothered by a little boy. Sound sequences were shot with direction by Hitchcock. The original nitrate camera negative has decomposed. / Full-sound film.
Survival status: Prints exist in the National Film and Television Archive of the British Film Institute film archive [35mm duplicate preservation positive (silent version)], and of the sound version of the film [35mm positive] : Prints exist for the original 6740-foot silent version, as well as for the 7136-foot sound version.
Current rights holder: (unknown)
Keywords: Artists - Chases - Crime: Blackmail, Rape (Attempted) - Criminals: Blackmailers, Rapists - Death: Murder (Self-defense) - Law: Enforcement: Police: Detectives, Policemen - Museums - Paintings - Synchronized sound film - United Kingdom: England: London - Weapons: Knives
Listing updated: 17 August 2014.
References: Film credits, film viewing : Baer-Film p. 27; Bohn-Light p. 93; Everson-Detective pp. 204, 205; Gifford-British n. 08681; Limbacher-Feature p. 25; Maltin-Guide p. 123; Perry-British pp. 57, 59, 63, 60o, 328; Ryall-Blackmail pp. 2, 8, 9-11, 14, 17-18, 20, 21-36, 37, 39-49, 50, 52-56, 57, 59-60, 63; Shipman-Cinema pp. 102, 105; Sinyard-Silent p. 170; Steinbrunner-Encyclopedia p. 199; Taylor-Hitchcock pp. 95-96, 97-102, 103, 104, 112, 116, 162c; Wood-Hitchcock pp. 84a, 84b, 84c, 208, 236, 241, 242, 244, 249-274, 279, 306, 327, 345, 363 : Cinemonkey-18-19 p. 14.
Home video: DVD.