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UK 1927
Directed by
Alfred Hitchcock
60 minutes
Rated G

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

Easy Virtue (1928)

The idea of making a silent screen version of a Noël Coward a rather incongruous one but such is the origin of this story about the effects of scandal and gossip on a young woman (played by Isabel Jeans) after the suicide of her beau and a much-publicised divorce.

Even though the film is hamstrung by the technical limitations of its period and will be of interest mainly to film students, one can see how Hitchcock at this early stage was developing his characteristic cinematic inventiveness precisely from working with such limitations, using purely visual motifs to carry meaning to the audience. Thus, in one exemplary scene a proposal of marriage is made and accepted by telephone, not by showing either party, but through the reactions of the switchboard operator eavesdropping on the call.

FYI: A much more apposite adaptation was made in 2008 by Stephan Elliot.




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