Hitch and Anny on the sound stage of Blackmail
Blackmail was Hitch's last silent and first sound film - we watched both.

I first saw the silent Blackmail when it was restored and shown at the BFI in 2012 - it was a revelation - Hitch made the film's lack of sound work brilliantly - and joy of silent film is that the non-silence of it (the music) becomes such an important part of watching the film - and the person making the music is not only an accompanist but also part of the creative process of making the film... so the film is almost still a work in progress - here's a lengthy article by Neil Brand on scoring Blackmail.

The silent film is splendid - it builds suspense and Anny makes Alice looks truly scared and scarred by things.

The sound film is pretty good too - it has some bits of genius of course, famously the brilliant "... blah blah blah blah knife blah blah blah KNIFE ..." scene - but it more often suffers from its sound - most noticeably the ridiculous live dubbing of Anny Ondra.

SOUND
Watched: 2015-09-27
Source: DVD
Rating: 7/10

SILENT
Watched: 2015-10-
Source: DVD
Rating: 8/10