Alfred Hitchcock Preps for “Blackmail”

18 03 2010

Before we look at “Blackmail,” Alfred Hitchcock’s historic first sound picture, here’s a treat. It’s a sound test Hitch made with his star, Anny Ondra…

This fantastic snippet was posted on the youtube by Dave Pattern, who runs the indispensible Alfred Hitchcock Wiki page and also writes the Hitchcock-related blog “It’s Only a Movie.”

Even though this is only a brief clip, there’s a lot going on here. For starters, he’s already using the nickname Hitch, as he would throughout his life. Hitch was known to introduce himself by saying, “Call me Hitch, never mind the cock.”

He’s flirting shamelessly with Anny Ondra, and mugging for the camera while he’s at it, something he claimed to do to break actresses of their stage habits – although he’s clearly enjoying himself. After all, he hardly needed to be on camera with Ondra. The question, “Have you been a bad woman?” is one he’s credited with asking actresses many times during screen tests and auditions – it’s intended to provoke a response, whether it’s embarrassment or something else.

Ondra, born in what’s now Poland, had a heavy accent, and even remarks on it in this test, and while Hitch doesn’t seem to care about it one way or another, she did not speak in “Blackmail.” Rather, she lip-synched on camera while Joan Barry stood to the side, saying her lines with a more acceptable accent.


One more note tonight: To the right, there’s a box from which you can download my Hitchcock film schedule. That will remain there for anyone who wants to see it – so tell your friends!




2 responses

21 03 2010
Alfred Hitchcock Enters the Sound Era with “Blackmail” « Alfred Hitchcock and Me

[…] we saw in the brief camera test here, Hitch’s star, Anny Ondra, had a heavy accent. Since she was playing a Brit, Hitch got around […]

8 12 2010
A Hitchcock Rarity: “Elstree Calling” « Hitchcock and Me

[…] a Shakespearean actor played by Donald Calthrop, who played the villain in Hitchcock’s “Blackmail.” Calthrop is determined to get out on the stage and perform a scene from “The Taming […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: