The Murderer is Never the One You Initially Suspect: Crooked House (2017)

The murderer is never the one you initially suspect.

I love Agatha Christie:

This was one of the first stories I ever read of hers. When I was about 10, my nana heard I liked mysteries and asked if I had ever read Agatha Christie. I hadn’t so she gave me a collection of stories in a book: Murder in the Mansions, which contained The Seven Dials Mystery, Ordeal by Innocence, and Crooked House.

All of them amazed me, but especially Crooked House. When I saw it on Amazon Prime, I had to watch it right away.

The film starts off with millionaire Archimedes Leonides’ death. He is survived by Brenda Leonides, his 30-year old widow; his sons, Phillip and Roger; his daughter-in-laws, Magda and Clemency; his grandchildren: Sophia (Stefanie Martini), Eustace (Preston Nyman), and Josephine (Honor Kneafsey); along with his sister-in-law, Lady Edith de Haviland.

Charles Hayward (Max Irons [Jeremy Irons’ son]) is an ex-embassyman in Egypt, and OSS agent, and has become a private investigator. Things haven’t been booming, but it appears that today will be different. He has a client today!

When he goes in he sees Sophia Leonides, otherwise known to him as Sophia de Haviland, an old flame.

Sophia and Charles met in Egypt when she worked for Sotheby’s, using her mother’s maiden name to hide her true identity. They had a relationship but it was broken off when Sophia found out that Charles was dating her not only for her, but to also find out information on her grandfather.

She comes to him to ask him to investigate as her grandpa did not die of natural causes. Someone poisoned him with his eyedrops. In order to avoid scandal she would rather he come in than Scotland Yard. Charles agrees and goes to the “Crooked House”.

With this term you know that no one in here will not be a suspect. All characters are duplicitous and dishonest. And all have a reason to kill Archimedes. He’s was a mean man who would tease and pull and play with all those around him, enjoying his power. Everyone is stuck in this crooked house and have to follow his rules-there is no ability, money, or anything they can do to leave.

We’re trapped

First we have Lady Edith de Haviland (Glenn Close), she always cared for Archimedes, but he married her sister. After her death Lady Edith stayed on in the house helping to raise the boys and their grandchildren. Could his marriage to Brenda finally made him snap? Did she hate how he was controlling the children and grandchildren?

Brenda Leonides (Christina Hendricks) is the 30-year old widow and the one who gave her husband his medicine every day. She’s the most likely to slip it in, but why? Could it be she regretted being cooped up with that old man? His family? Could she have a lover that she wants to be with, but with Archimedes’ money?

Phillip (Julian Sands) burnt through his trust fund with gambling and had to be rescued by his father. He is stuck there as his history books and screenplays are nothing nobody wants. He wrote a new play, something his wife could star in, but his father won’t fund it. It could help him break away-could he have murdered his father for freedom?

Magda (Gillian Anderson [Yes Scully from X-Files]) is a former actress in the theater. Her husband and father-in-law have both thrown money at her plays and lost and lost. Now this screenplay could be her ticket back to stardom but Archimedes would not pay. Did she do it?

Roger (Christian McKay) inherited one of the family buisnesses, the catering and restaurants. He completely dropped the ball on it, his dad constantly having to pull him out of a black hole. This time his dad said no more money. Did Roger take care of it?

Clemency (Amanda Abbington) has never wanted to stay in the crooked house. She has always wanted to leave, but her husband was Daddy’s boy and never could. Did she finally snap and take care of it?

Sophia was called back from Sotheby’s to “help” with the family business, however she didn’t do much. Did she regret being in the house? Did she want to leave and felt there was only one way out?

Eustace had polio when he was younger, giving him a limp in one leg. His grandfather made him be tutored at home, i order to “keep him from being bullied.” But Eustace has always resented this control and being stuck in the house his whole life. He wants to go out, be with real people, out in life. Did he finally snap?

Hmm…

Josephine is always writing and scribbing in her notebook-a Harriet the Spy. She goes from room to room watching, observing-mostly undetected. Did she see something? Or was she mad that he stopped her dream of becoming a ballerina?

Hmm…

To make things worse, Charles still has feelings for Sophia. Will this cloud his judgement?

Which one which one? And will Charles survive the crooked house?

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There Wouldn’t Be Any Difficulty in Finding a King: The Secret of Chimneys

Day 29) Five, Six, Pick Up Sticks: Sticks symbolize Power, Strength, or Judicial decisions. Choose a book that revolves around a powerful Ruler or Ruling.

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The Secret of Chimneys (Superintendent Battle #1) by Agatha Christie

I started reading Agatha Christie when my grandma gave me an anthology called Murder at the Manor, which had the books The Seven Dial Mysteries, Ordeal by Innocence, and Crooked House. I thought they were amazing novels and continued to read her books, mostly out of order.

I’m not sure how I was introduced to The Secret of Chimneys. I just remember a few years ago I found it at the library and wanted to check it out but couldn’t.

I immediately requested it, waiting until a copy came in. I started a few pages, but couldn’t stop reading and completely devoured the entire thing.

I thought it was incredible! It is a great mystery, fantastic adventure story, and just full of wit and witticism.

This counts double for this place on the list as the book not only centers on trying to find the next King of a Eastern European country but was written by the Queen of crime.

This book is one of her earlier novels, being the fifth mystery she has ever penned.

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So our tale of intrigue begins in Zimbabwe. Anthony Cade is thirty-two years old, handsome, well educated and traveled; and currently working as a tour guide. He runs into his old friend Jimmy McGrath, who needs help with something.

Before Jimmy can tell him the job, he first gives Anthony a history lesson. The Eastern European country Herzoslovakia has recently had some real civil unrest. King Nicholas IV married a music hall performer, and called her some outrageous name, and later after the marriage crowned her as Queen Varaga. The two were later assassinated and the prime minister, Count Stylpitch, left to France.

I’m getting out of here

Well one day, Jimmy was in Paris on one of his get-rich-quick schemes and saw some French toughs beating up a gentleman. Jimmy got involved and beat them up and the gentleman thanked him taking his name and going on his way.

Later Jimmy was contacted by the man and it turned out to be Count Stylpitch. Count Stylpitch has recently passed away and Jimmy was shocked when he received a package from the man. In the package is Count Stylpitch’s memoirs and a note that if they are delivered on or before October 13, then he will be given £1000. Jimmy unfortunately already has plans in a gold mine and needs someone else to do the job, promising to share £250 with Anthony if he will do it. Anthony agrees.

There isn’t time to change passage name or anything like that, so Anthony will just use Jimmy’s tickets. However, that’s not the only thing Jimmy needs him to do. One time when Jimmy was in Uganda and he saved a Herzoslovakian, strangely called Dutch Pedro. When he died from fever a few weeks later, he gave Jimmy “a gold mine” in papers. When Jimmy checked them out they were love letters from a Mrs. Virginia Revel.

Jimmy was disgusted at this idea of “gold mine”, blackmail and wants to return the items. There is no address on them and Jimmy had no plans or money to head to England, but with this free trip it seems like the best time.

Meanwhile in England, the death of Count Stylpitch has created a black hole in the government. George Lomax is trying to broker a deal with a British oil company and Prince Michael Obolovitch, contender for the Herzoslovakian throne. He wants to use the old historic Chimneys as the perfect meeting place, twisting Lord Caterham’s arm as he wants nothing to do with it.

George is worried about the memoirs as to what might come out, especially the disappearance of the Herzoslovakian treasures. He wants to get his hand at those remembrances and plans to use the feminine persuasion. He has just the right person in mind as well: widow to the Herzoslovakian ambassador so she knows the affairs, charming, intelligent: his cousin is perfect. His cousin Virginia Revel.

George returns home to complete the errand, but his lovesick assistant, Bill Eversleigh, manipulates his way into going to see the woman of his dreams, Virginia. Virginia agrees to go to a meeting with George, Bill also declaring his love for her; but Virginia isn’t interested.

George sends Bill to find out when the ship Granarth Castle is due to arrive. Unfortunately for George, Bill doesn’t pronounce Granarth correctly, and the worker thinks he says Carnfrae Castle instead, which is due next Thursday. Anthony, however, had arrived the previous day. Like they say, you can’t plan for everything.

Anthony has arrived in England under the name Jimmy McGrath and when he arrives at the Blitz Hotel, as per instructions, he is approached by a Herzoslovakian who wants the memoirs, Baron Lolopretjzyl. He wants to protect Prince Obolovitch from any bad press and is willing to pay £2000. When Anthony refuses, Baron Lolopretjzyl promises he will try another way.

Not good

Anthony is on his guard and decides as he has a week to take the work to the printer he will try and deliver the Revel papers instead. There are many Revels, (and she is under her husband’s name even though she is a widow), but he happens to luck onto her picture and discover which one she is.

Before he can journey to her, he is attacked by an Eastern European, a member of the Red Hand and after the memoir. He tries to pull  gun on him, but Anthony Cade is not a pushover, he takes him down lickety-split.

Later he is attacked by an Italian waiter, Giuseppe. He manages to stop Giuseppe from harming him, but Giuseppe takes off with the Revel letters.

Not good

Anthony has only been here a day and has already been approached/attacked by three people. What will the next day hold?

The next day Virginia Revel is approached by a man with letters. At first she doesn’t understand why he is here, but then he shows her the signature on the letters! That is her name!

What?!

The blackmailer wants £1000 for the whole lot, and Virginia tells him she will think on his offer and get back to him if he comes over at six the next day.

Now the weird thing is that first of all, Virginia never loved her husband and has enjoyed widowhood. She doesn’t think of herself as a saint or worry about her reputation to the extent of the woman in the letters. Secondly, she never wrote any such letters or had a lover named Captain O’Neil in Paris. This is all so strange and doesn’t make a bit of sense. But at the same time it is extremely thrilling, and Virginia is having fun being caught up in it all.

George arrives to discuss his meeting with Virginia and she tells him about the blackmail.

“[Forty pounds is] only what I pay for an evening dress. It’s just as exciting to buy a new experience as it is to buy a new dress–more so, in fact.”

George asks for her assistance in charming Jimmy McGrath in order to weasel the memoirs out of him. Virginia agrees, but warns that she can’t promise anything.

“I don’t charm as a profession, you know. Often I like people–and then, well, they like me. But I don’t think I could set out in cold blood to fascinate a helpless stranger.”

George was hoping that Virginia would just be a willing dupe to his plans, but she won’t get involved in anything without getting the whole story. She is smart, sassy, and doesn’t let anyone pull the wool over her eyes.

George changes his mind about Virginia and tries to get her not invited, as she will wreck all his plans, but it is too late. Lady Eileen “Bundle” Brent, Lord Caterham’s daughter, has already invited her.

This is not good

Meanwhile, Anthony has gone to the hotel manager and reported the theft. He decides not to call the police, and uses that as leverage to get the info on Giuseppe. Later he is contacted by Mr. Balderson of Balderson and Hodgkins Publishing, the company contracted to print the memoir. They wish to have the memiors now as there are many out there after them and they will not rest until they have finished the contract. They send a Mr. Holmes who pays him the £1000.

That taken care of, Anthony heads off to see Mrs. Virginia Revel and tell her the bad news. As he is heading out he is given a note sent by George Lomax asking him to wait to give the memoirs until he speaks to him and invites him to come down to Chimneys. Anthony writes a letter informing them that he already sent of the memoirs and cannot attend the function signing Jimmy McGrath. Exit McGrath, Enter Anthony.

Meanwhile, that day Virginia had been playing tennis. When she arrives home she sees a handsome man selling poems. So handsome, she wishes she had a real job for him or reason to have him stick around.

Virginia goes inside and finds the whole household gone!

Apparently they received a telegram from Virginia that she wanted her cottage set up as she decided that she was going to head down there for a party. The only one who remained was her french maid, Élise, as she would be needed to prepare clothing and dress Virginia.

Virginia calms down the maid and has her get things ready for Chimneys while she prepares to call the cottage, to set things right, and police to keep an eye on the house. She goes into the next room and sees the blackmailer! She had completely forgotten all about him. As she approaches him she sees that he is dead!

Virginia is unsure what to do and who to call to help. George? No, he is too stuffy and wouldn’t get caught in anything that could possibly damage his political career.

A stuffed shirt.

BIll?! Yes Bill! Oh darn, he already left for Chimneys.

Hmmm….

So Virginia goes outside and asks the handsome young man. She tells him the story of the blackmailing and coming across the body, and strangely enough he believes her and promises to help her. Who is this amazing young man? Anthony Cade.

It is too bad that Virginia and her maid didn’t find the dead man together, that would make things less complicated. As it is, it is pretty murky.

Anthony recognizes the man as Giuseppe, the waiter that stole the letters. Anthony looks at the pistol that shot Giuseppe and asks if it belongs to Virginia. She says no she has never seen it and never owned one in her life. Well that’s strange as this one is engraved, Virginia.

Not good

Anthony knows there are only two things left to do:

  1. Ring up the police, tell the whole story, and trust your position and blameless life.
  2. Try to dispose of the body.

Anthony starts looking through the body to see if there is anything on him to help with this determination. He lucks out finding a note that was caught in the lining of his coat.

Chimneys 11:45 Thursday

Virginia finds this odd as she was supposed to be there at Chimneys today, Thursday.

Anthony figures out that someone must have been trying to get rid of Virginia and keep her from coming to the party. They decide to go with plan B as calling the police means that they won’t be able to make it to Chimneys.Virginia gets rid of her maid, sending her off on an errand and telling her to meet her afterwards at Chimneys. They then decide to get rid of the body.

As they prepare Virginia asks him why a perfect stranger is being so kind, there’s no time for Anthony’s life story; they must be on their way. Virginia heads to Chimneys as she originally planned. Anthony goes on to hide the pistol in a tree, he then leaves the trunk in Paddington station, continuing onto Chimneys.

When he gets there he waits to see what will occur. At 11:45 he hears a shot!

He tries the windows to go inside, but all are locked. No one rises at the sound either. A light springs up in one of the windows on the first floor but then the whole place goes into darkness.

The next day it turns out that one of the guests was murdered! Count Stanislaus was found this morning by a maid.

Lord Caterham calls the police, but George insists that they must have the best, Inspector Battle of Scotland Yard.

from Dial “M” for Murder

When he arrives they bring in Anthony Cade as they found his boot tracks through the grass when he was out late that night. He’s brought to Chimneys where he tells his story. He changes a bit to leave out Virginia’s part, and lies saying that when he struggled with Giuseppe in the hotel, Giuseppe dropped a note about Chimneys which brought him there.

It is revealed that Count Stanislaus was not the one murdered but Prince Michael Obolovitch. When Battle has Anthony survey the area to look at where the shot came from, Anthony recognizes the body. But not as Prince Michael Obolovitch, but Mr. Holmes, the man Anthony gave the memoirs to.

So we have a dead prince, espionage, mistaken identity, a secret prince, thief unknown as he has picture perfect disguises, stolen and missing cultural treasures; a mystery and a treasure hunt. Anthony and Virginia team up to discover what the truth is.

I thought it was a fantastic book; it is fun, challenging, and just all around fantastic. I just love it and read it again and again.

Or 10th, 50th, 100th….

It isn’t anything like her later novels, but just all around a great adventure.

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You’re a Detective, Let Me Give You a Tip. Don’t Wave Important Evidence in a Telephone Booth. They Have Glass Windows: Blackmail (1929)

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You’re a Detective, Let Me Give You a Tip. Don’t Wave Important Evidence in a Telephone Booth. They Have Glass Windows

So this is an Alfred Hitchcock film.

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Most people don’t. This is one of his early films, and the first “talkie” he made. In fact this is the first British talkie.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

Originally Hitchcock wanted it to be silent, but was forced to add sound so that England could catch up with the USA. This caused quite a few issues as the leading actress, Anny Odra, looked the right part, but her accent was so incredibly thick that no one could understand her and she had to lip sync her lines.

ouch Hermione

It also has quite a few music heavy scenes as theaters weren’t quite ready to just have the sound of voices, and neither was Hitchcock. He thought talkies were ridiculous.

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Now I thought about doing three Hitchcock films again, but I wasn’t sure what to do after Psycho. I decided to do this early film as I think it is unfair that a lot of his work that set up the later films are ignored. Thus far I have only planned on reviewing this Hitchcock film, but you never know. A lot can happen in a month and I might change my mind and add another.

Who knows!

Who knows!

So on to the review.

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So the film starts off with a group of police officers, Scotland Yard [as this is when Hitchcock was in England], are off in a paddy wagon searching for a man. Their is no sound in this beginning part, just chase music.

 

The man they are looking for is smoking in bed. He sees the men approach his door through a reflection in the mirror. There is a gun next to him in the bed and he looks at it, while pretending to read the paper. He tries to reach for it, but the detectives stop him and force him to dress. He is under arrest.

Or in this case "we"

Or in this case “we”

They carry him down and take him in the wagon to New Scotland Yard. The spend a long time questioning him, the passage of time being shown through multiple cigarettes being burned.

Being questioned police Annex - Tierney, Gene (Laura)_03

After the hours of questioning, the days not over yet. They still have to put him in a lineup, wait as the witness looks over the men and ponders of one is the one they saw. When their man is selected he is formally charged, taken fully into custody, fingerprints are taken, he is sent to the cells, etc. The detectives work is over for the day.

Take note, rest of Hollywood.

Two of the detectives were involved stop in a bathroom to polish up. One of them is Detective Frank Webber (John Longden), he has a date tonight and heads out to meet his girlfriend who should be waiting in the foyer.

Alice White is waiting, as she has been there for thirty minutes. She is very upset with Frank as she hates waiting.

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Frank tries to greet her, but Alice is just angry with him. She won’t let him hold her arm or hand; and keeps looking away from him. This attitude doesn’t please Frank as Alice has been doing this a lot and he feels she is overreacting.

You need to calm down

You need to calm down

He’s a detective, sometimes things won’t go according to plan, it is part of the job.

The two take a train, and here we have the longest cameo of Hitchcock in any of his films.

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It is hilarious. The whole trip he is trying to read and a little kid just will not leave him alone. After this Hitchcock decided to make his cameo’s short, quick, and early on as to not take away film.

Take note, rest of Hollywood.

They go out to a tea room, but have trouble finding a place to sit as it is packed. Alice is still mad at Frank for being late and blames him for their current trouble.

Laura Angry Mad Upset

Now I personally think that Alice is overreacting. First of all you are dating a detective, you should know that things will come up and they might have to work later than planned. I mean, come on. It goes with the territory. And secondly, from the way the room is mobbed with people, if you had arrived 30 minutes earlier, it really wouldn’t have helped you out.

So there! tongue sticking out pug

They have to literally fight for a table, managing to scoop one from another couple. But when they sit down, Alice complains that she left her glove at the previous table they had tried to sit at. Frank being a gentleman, goes to retrieve it.

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Frank returns with the glove and jokes that he could tell it was hers because of all the holes in it. Alice doesn’t laugh but continues to be angry and snippy at him for making her wait around, acting like he does it for fun. Frank explains that it is work, but Alice continues on feeling wounded.

Now Alice is not really angry at him for being late, but upset because she feels he doesn’t pay enough attention to her, but puts her behind his work.

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But instead of telling Frank why she is upset she kind of tries to play games with him. Frank is trying to get the waitresses attention, because they were going to see a new Scotland Yard film, and he doesn’t want to be late. Alice, upset and trying to get him jealous/pay attention tells him she doesn’t want to see the film as she’s “seen all worth seeing.”

No thank youhowaboutno

Frank goes to speak to the waitress to get their order and while he is gone Alice spots another man.

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

He greets her and heads to another table. Alice then pulls out a note given to her by him earlier.

I’ll be there 6:30 Tuesday, will you?

I don't think so

What a jerk! There is no excuse in all the world to ever justify cheating on your relationship.

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Frank returns, ready for them to stay as they aren’t going to the movies. But Alice tells him she has changed her mind and wants to go.

Okay...

Okay…

But then Alice changes her mind again (this is the third time) and doesn’t want to go.

What?

What?

But then she changes her mind again and doesn’t want to go with him.

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This makes Frank angry as he is tired of this mood Alice is in and doesn’t want to play any games. He tries to get the waitress to take care of their order but can’t flag her down.

 Things are not going as Alice imagined they would in her head and she tries to fix things and get him to stay, but Frank is done. He leaves money on the table and exits the restaurant.

See ya!

See ya!

Frank doesn’t actually leave but paces outside reviewing what happened in his head. He decides he overreacted and starts to go inside to apologize when he sees Alice leave the restaurant with another man, the same one she had made plans with earlier.

OMG gasp

Poor Frank!

right in the feels broken heart

I truly think she engineered the whole fight to get rid of Frank and wasn’t sorry.

Seriously!

Seriously!

So the guy Alice is with is never given a name, he is The Artist in the credits so that is what I will call him.

Anyways,  Alice and the artist walk back to his place. Outside it, is a man waiting to speak to the artist.

suspicious Hmm

Originally, the Artist was going to walk her home; but “as they are right by his home” he offers to show her his “studio”.

Really? His "studio"?

Really? His “studio”?

Alice doesn’t want to go at first, kind of playing that she “can’t”. But then decides to head in.

Don’t do it Alice, it is nothing but trouble.

trouble Twilight Zone

Before they go in, the artist is called over by the man. They have a quick discussion, with the artist he saying no and then he and Alice continue in.

I wonder what that was all about.

I wonder what that was all about.

Before they head up to the top floor, his studio, the artist looks at his mail first and sees something distressing. He sends Alice up while he deals with it. He questions the landlady about the note.

Who is this man? Why does it distress him so?

Hmm...

Hmm…

Anyways, the artist’s studio is on the top floor. When they get there he makes a fire to keep them warm. Seduction 101.

Alice looks around the room at the art and sees a weird Jester picture that makes her laugh. I’m not sure why as I always thought it just looked odd.

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However, the painting laughs and Alice laughs with it. Maybe she is laughing to hide her hurt over Frank. Maybe she is laughing because she wants to convince herself that the artist is a better guy. Maybe she is laughing because she is doing something out of character, wild. Maybe she laughs because she is breaking the rules; in a man’s room at night. Well whatever the reason, the two laugh together.

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Alice waits for the artist to finish with the fire and plays with the piano. She then spots the painters palette and asks him how to hold it, of which he comes to show her. She accidentally paints the canvas and he has her keep going. All she can do is make a stick figure like face, so the Artist “helps” her paint, holding onto her.

Really? His "studio"?

Really? His “studio”?

They two make a body for the girl, a naked body. Foreshadowing.

dun-dun-duuuun

Alice then signs the painting, while the artist goes to get them some drinks. Alice looks around the room and sees a costume and holds it onto her, asking about being painted.

The artist asks her to put it on so he can paint her, but Alice refuses as she has to go home.

Gotta go!

Gotta go!

This makes the artist is “sad” as he thinks she would make the most lovely painting. But no, now that he thinks about it his costume wouldn’t suit her.

Really? That old line?

Really? That old line?

But Alice falls for it and decides to put the costume on. Alice goes to one side of a screen and undresses as the artist plays the piano.

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Artist sings to her playing the piano, and Alice listens to it in her little costume. When she comes out, the artist really lays on the flattery telling her the song he was singing was all about her. Alice comes out in the little costume as she can’t zip it up and neither can he, Alice chooses to leave it alone.

Bad idea. Stop Alice.

Bad idea. Stop Alice.

He then sets her just right, caressing her body, and going in for the kiss. Alice says no, and decides she needs to go. She starts to undress, when the artist approaches her, taking her dress away. He won’t give it back until she comes out to get it.

It's getting worse!

It’s getting worse!

He wants to be with her but Alice says no. Unfortunately, she didn’t know this guy very well before she decided to go up in his room alone with him, as he doesn’t take no for an answer.

The next scene is done very well and in true Hitchcock fashion. Out of any director, he always knew how much to show, and how much to leave up to the viewer’s imagination.

Master

Master

So the two struggle as the artist tries to rape Alice. We never see the fight but through a shadow and the way the curtain moves. Alice manages to grab the bread knife on the table next to the bed, and stabs him.

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Now here is where I can see why Hitchcock choose Ondra as his leading lady. Prior to this act, Alice was silly, innocent, childish, selfish, and acting only on her needs. After this act, her whole personality changes in the film; reflecting that shattered innocence and trauma she faces.

I’m getting ahead of myself. So Alice is in shock after murdering the artist and moves about sluggishly, mechanically, almost robotically. In fact, she reminds me a lot of the robot Maria in Metropolis

Alice doesn’t know what to do, but knows she needs to get out. She grabs her dress and sees the Jester. No longer are they laughing together, but instead the Jester is laughing at her. And how she was so foolish. Angry, Alice punches the picture.

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This causes her to wake up from her distress and she throws her dress on, and coat, in such a hurry that she doesn’t even zip up the dress. She quickly grabs her bag and umbrella, quickly painting over her name on the other canvas.

Getting out of here

Getting out of here

She turns out the lights and starts to sneak downstairs. We see his signature style in the cinematography with the stairs, lights, and use of angles.

shadow-of-a-doubt-room door break into

Something that will be done in future films, such as Shadow of a Doubt.

As Alice walks away we see the shadow of the man who had accosted the artist earlier, trying to speak to him about something.

It's getting worse!

It’s getting worse!

Alice walks home almost in a trance, zombish as everything she sees makes her think of the dead body. She sees a bar sign that shows a shaking of a drink, but instead sees a hand stabbing with a knife. Alice just walks all over, hurt, shock, uncertain, afraid, and seeing the dead hand, the dead arm, the dead man she killed.

The_Wolf_Man_4Crying sad

We then hear a scream, the landlady found the body.

#4

Scotland Yard is called on the case, and Frank gets called in on it, topping off his sucky night. He starts poking around the apartment, looking at everything, looking out the window, and spots the broken picture. He looks at the costume and the painting. As he looks at the laugh, he shares in the joke that this guy thought he was going to have a fun night but instead ended in death.

But then he finds a glove.

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Full of holes like his girlfriend’s…It looks and feels like hers. He then sees the body, that face He knows!

It's getting worse!

Instead of giving evidence, he hides the glove.

Now he too is stuck in the coverup

Now he too is stuck in the coverup

Alice sneaks into her room and quickly gets out of her coat and jumps into bed before discovered. Afterwards she quickly changes and fixes herself up. Instead of her furry coat and dark dress, she changes to something light colored, floral, an innocent dress, young looking, more demure. Trying to recapture what she lost and go in the opposite direction of what she was before.

Meanwhile, downstairs at the house and the smoke shop, everyone is talking about the murder. Alice goes into the telephone booth and searches for the police number, ready to call them and admit everything..but loses her nerve.

I don't know what to do

Her parents notice that Alice doesn’t look well, but she doesn’t say anything, just remains quiet. A dramatic shift from her previous performance of silliness and gaiety; too quiet, contemplation. A real talented actress.

So her act continues to haunt her, and she still sees and hears knife everywhere.

 

Frank comes in and Alice is happy to see him as she realizes he’s the only one for her,  but also afraid. Is he still mad from last night? Is he here to arrest her?Frank says hi and leaves, but then comes back and asks to speak to Alice for  minute.

It's getting worse!

He takes her into the phone booth for privacy and tries to get Alice to tell him what happened, but she can’t talk about, still too traumatized. Frank gives her the glove.

While they are talking, a guy, Mr. Tracey, knocks on door and asks to talk on the phone since they aren’t using it. He is the one from the night before that say Alice enter the building. He lets them know he wants to speak to Scotland Yard, letting them know by his innuendo why he wants to talk to Scotland Yard.

Blackmail!

Blackmail!

Alice is frightened and worried, but Frank quickly asses the situation. The Tracey lets them know what he saw and that he wants to be treated right or else.

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Frank buys him the most expensive cigar, at his request, and then the two make him breakfast. Might not be much, but this guy is planning on milking them for everything!

Meanwhile, back at the police station they are questioning the landlady. They discovered the note that had the artist all aflutter and want to know more about who wrote it. Unfortunately, the landlady is not very observant and the only thing she noticed was that he tilted his head and twisted his hands around. They have her look through the criminal books, until it come up as Mr. Tracey.

Mr. Tracey who at this moment is living like a king. Best cigar, great breakfast, cup of tea…

StirsTea

Frank gets a call from Scotland Yard, catching him up on the latest news of the case. He hangs up the phone and he has an idea. you can sees it in his eyes.

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Frank has Alice lock the door. Then he starts discussing that there was a suspicious looking man with a criminal record hanging around the murdered artist’s place. Alice is freaking out, and doesn’t want to do this, this blackmail. Yeah, I bet you never saw that one coming? Eh? We all knew that Alice would be blackmailed, but did you ever see Frank turning the tables coming? I sure didn’t the first time I saw it.

loveitSupernatural

 But, lets not get too hasty…Mr. Tracey has one more trick up his sleeve. Tracey says that he will talk, all about Alice. But Frank isn’t worried saying that Tracey’s word is nothing. His plan to sit and wait for the squad car who is on its way now.

The two argue, and Alice freaks out.  The chains of guilt weigh heavy on her and she doesn’t want Tracey pay for her crime. Frank doesn’t really want to listen to her as he is still a angry and hurt over what happened with Alice going off with another guy and that she hasn’t told him anything about what happened.

Tracey tries to convince Frank to let him go. He tells him “I’m not bad I was just in a bad situation…”

Tom-Hanks-Saying-Really

Yeah right you were trying to blackmail that other guy and then you were trying to do it to them.

Some people

Some people

Frank and Tracey’s eyes are locked on each other as the other police officers come. Tracey jumps out the window and the chase is on! Music for this next part as we repeat the opening scene of these guys trying to hunt him down and take him off to jail. when they were looking for him.

Here we have a great repeat of Alice’s earlier trance of seeing the knife everywhere; except instead of a weapon Tracey sees cops everywhere. Cops searching for him!

Meanwhile, for the first time since everything started, Alice actually thinks on what happened and tries to figure out what she should do.

whatdoyouthinkTwilightzoneRealmartianpleasestandup

Tracey takes off to hide in a museum, but doesn’t look at any of the exhibits making him seem super suspicious.

He eventually heads up to the roof, climbing over the famous building. Oh Hitchcock and you love for having people climb the tops of famous architectural creations. I mean there is the Statue of Liberty in Saboteur, Mount Rushmore in North by Northwest, etc.

Tracey ends up killing himself accidentally when the glass breaks on the roof. And that is the end of that. They believed him to be the murderer, the evidence pointed toward him, and with him dead: case closed.

TheEnd_Title_2

Oh, but not quite as Alice has decided to turn herself in, leaving Frank a note and heading to the New Scotland Yard.

When she arrives the Officer thinks she is here to see Frank but she lets him know that she is here to see Inspector Walls.  She is sent to his office and walks down the hallway, with certainty that every step brings her closer to doom.

It's getting worse!

Worried and afraid Alice goes in and sees Frank is there with Inspector Walls. Frank tries to stop her as they “solved the murder”. Alice is scared trying to get everything out, but before she can Inspector Walsh is called away, and Frank is to take care of her.

Frank takes Alice aside and tells her that he knows what happened. Alice tells him he doesn’t know, and starts to relay the whole story, how she was attacked and was defending herself.

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

Alice and Frank walk out, with a better understanding and a hope for the future. The officer asks if Alice told him who did it, and Frank says yes. The officer jokes that he better watch out she might have his job. They all laugh. Except Alice, she sees the jester painting…

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What a great film for cinema history and to see Hitchcock working out things that he would become known for later.

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To start Horrorfest V from the beginning, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)

For the previous post, go to It Was the Curse. My Curse: The Cheerleader Murders (2016)

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For more Alfred Hitchcock films, go to We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes: Psycho (1960)

For more films centering on blackmail, go to The Perfect Murder: Dial “M” for Murder (1954)

For more films that center on a painting, go to Murder is My Favorite Crime: Laura (1944)

 

What Are the 39 Steps?: The 39 Steps (1935)

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Beautiful, mysterious woman pursued by gunmen. Sounds like a spy story. That’s exactly what it is.

This is another one of Alfred Hitchcock’s little known gems, and celebrating its 80th anniversary. I know many of you might be wondering why I chose this film and Jamaica Inn instead of The Birds or Vertigo. I don’t know, I guess I just feel like everyone talks about those films, and no one talks about Hitchcock’s earlier works, which were also fantastic. Maybe not as stylized as he didn’t have money and the technology wasn’t as great; but they are good stories with amazing suspense.

Suspense have to know

So the film is based on a book of the same name by John Buchan. It has been remade in 1959, 1978, and more recently in 2008. I have only seen Hitchcock’s and the 2008 version, but so far this is my favorite.

love it

I first became aware of this film when I bought a DVD for a dollar at Wal-Mart that had 4 Alfred Hitchcock films: Easy Virtue, Sabotage, The 39 Steps, and Jamaica Inn. As I was watching the film, the DVD froze right in the middle, making me unable to know how the film ended.

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Now if you have never had this happen to you in the middle of a Hitchcock film then you are lucky that you don’t know how excruciatingly painful it is to be stopped in the middle. How does it end???? I was going crazy, until my mom told me that she might have a VHS copy of it. I searched every inch of our film cases, until I found it. Watching it and loving it.

Finally something GOOD!

One thing I really like about this film, is that it is one of Hitchcock’s earliest films to have the theme of an ordinary person, caught up in extraordinary circumstances.

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I’m not sure if it is the first as I haven’t seen all of his silent films. They are hard to get copies of.  So let’s get started on the prelude to SaboteurNorth by Northwest, The Man Who Knew Too Much and all those other great regular joes getting a most irregular experience with The 39 Steps. 

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This film was made in Britain, so the opening is very different, not the usual Hollywood or FBI warning type things you see.

The music hall has a special guest today, Mr. Memory a man who knows everything as he commits to memory 50 facts a day. Richard Hannay has decided to come and watch the program with countless others, as it is a full house tonight. And of course, lots of hecklers, as this isn’t a super high class program, we have working and middle class attending. People are questioning Mr. Memory, but the program stalls when some drunks start brawling and create a hoopla. Two shots ring out and everyone flees.

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A woman runs into Hannay and he helps get her out of the building. She asks to come home with.

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Richard is a bit wary, but agrees.

The two go to his apartment, his temporary one as he is not permanent here. He just came from Canada but travels all over Canada, England, Scotland, and Ireland for his job.

When they get inside Hannay notices that the girl starts acting strangely. She will stand away from windows and close to the walls. She asks him to move a mirror around, and to close the curtains on the windows. The phone rings and she pleads him not to answer as she is sure “they” are calling for her.

weird

He gives her a drink which she gulps down, clearly frightened about something. She is ready to give him an explanation, but not until they move to the more secure kitchen instead, of which she closes the curtains.

The phone rings again, Hannay compiling to her wishes, but finding the whole thing strange. Even more when she asks for something to eat.

Weird

Weird

She tells him to call her Annabella Smith, it is not her real name, as she changes it wherever she goes. Hannay starts cooking her some eggs, when they hear a thump of the stove being turned on, which frightens Annabella. Hannay assumes it is because of the gunshots they heard earlier, but she tells him she was the one who fired the shots.

Say What

Annabella tells then there were two men there that wanted to kill her. Hannay doesn’t believe her.

Richard Hannay: Beautiful, mysterious woman pursued by gunmen. Sounds like a spy story.

Annabella Smith: That’s exactly what it is.

Annabella tells him everything; she is a secret agent with no country, helping whatever one she chooses. She is here to help England, not because she loves the country but because they pay well. There is an agent that is trying to get vital information on England’s defense out of the country and she is here to stop it.

I-got-this-reaction-gif

Richard doesn’t believe her at all. She then tells him to look down in the street. When he does he sees a man waiting by the light post looking up trying to see into the apartment!

i'mscared

Hannay believes Annabella is telling the truth. Annabella is scared and knows that Hannay is now stuck in this mess. That is when she decides to give him her secret.

Annabella Smith: Have you ever heard of the 39 Steps?

Richard Hannay: No. What’s that, a pub?

With that smart aleck reply, Annabella decides to tell him no more, it is all up to her she is the only one who can stop them. Hannay asks her why she doesn’t tell the police, but she points out that they will have the same response he did. She also warns him about how clever the spies are, especially the head agent.

Richard Hannay: Who is he and what is his name?

Annabella Smith: He has a thousand names can look like anyone, only thing he cannot hide is a missing finger.

Richard offers Annabella his bed while he takes he couch. She tells him the only other thing she needs is passage to Scotland, there is a man there who can help her. Richard asks if the 39 Steps are in Scotland, and she tells him they can talk more about it tomorrow.

Majorly

Majorly

No, no, no, no, no, no, no. If you have important info you do not wait until later, you give it now. Whenever people say they will save it for later, they die, and then the others have to try and figure out what they meant.

Every time!

Every time!

That night Anna wakes him up screaming throwing a paper at him. And then she’s dead!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And the phone keeps ringing, Hannay wants to answer but doesn’t . He looks out the window and sees the man still waiting outside. He hears everything Anna said in his head again, these men will stop at nothing.

OhNOthisisgonnabebad

He grabs the paper from her dead hand and sees it is a map of Scotland, with an area circled. There is only one thing for Hannay to do, get himself to Scotland.

Hannay takes off the next morning, wearing his hat low to hide identity. He waits in the lobby, running into the milkman. He asks to buy his clothes, saying that he is truing to get away from murderer and spy, but the milkman doesn’t believe him. He then tells him that he spent the night with a married woman, and her brother and husband are waiting to beat him up. They milkman feels sorry for him, and they trade clothes, with Hannay running off to the train The Flying Scotsman, heading to Scotland.

Hannay shares a compartment with three guys. One buys a newspaper when they stop at a station. They read that a woman was murdered in West End near the BBC. There is a picture of the owner of that flat. Luckily, in the picture, Hannay has his hat on low, so it is hard to recognize him.

tellyouthetruthidon'tknowTwilightzoneRealmartianpleasestandup

Richard walks out of the compartment and heads over to the policeman, thinking about turning himself in, as he didn’t do it he should be proved innocent. Right? Wrong! He hears the police to another person say that the evidence they have is enough to hang the man. Hannay decides to forget that, he wants to live.

He goes back to the train but the spy’s henchmen have caught up with him. He runs into another compartment with a woman, stopping to kiss her. The men pass them by.

He tells her he is in need of help, and that these spies are after him. He asks her to lie and say they are together. But when the men come back, she gives him up.

How rude

They question him, are you Hannay and he says no.

Just then the porter comes in and I just love this scene here so much:

Porter: Are you coming in for tea, Sir?

Richard Hannay: I’ll be right along

Instead of going out the regular door, he then goes right through the exiting door even though the train is still going. Afterwards, he crosses into another compartment and runs down the hall. A great scene done by the master. You have to watch it.

He runs through the dining car, stopping at the pet and luggage, with the henchmen close behind. The engine masters are angry as the henchmen pulled the chain to make the train stop, sure that Hannay jumped out. And he did. He is hiding on the bridge barely hanging on waiting for them to all leave.

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The train leaves, reducing Hannay to be to walking about Scotland. He reaches he circled area and stops at a country house, in the area.  He pretends to be looking for work and asks about newcomers to the area, being told of an Englishmen in town.

As night is coming he asks to stay, paying for food and lodging. There is a young girl at the home, and he thinks it is the old man’s daughter, but she is actually his wife.

clueless mybad oops

He sits at the table while she cooks dinner.

The wife is from Glasgow and tells him about how nice it is, and you can clearly she misses it. Hannay tells her that he has never been there but London, Montreal, and more. She wnts to know more about London and he answers her questions.

He asks to read the paper, and sees another article on him.

Later during dinner, while the husband is praying, his wife looks at the paper. She figures it out and makes a face to Hannay, then the two then stare at each other. Her husband is a bit worried that they might have done something, so he makes up an excuse and goes outside watching them through the window.

He's creepin' in your windows. He's starin' at your people.

He’s creepin’ in your windows. He’s starin’ at your people.

That night, the wife hears something, getting up and waking Hannay so he can flee. As she is getting him out, the husband gets up. He thought those looks were about getting it on, and he thinks they are trying to get together now. Although Hannay is fully dressed, but you know how jealousy blinds

Hannay tries to explain, but the wife urges him to leave. He says the police are after him and is willing to pay for the man for silence. He agrees to this, telling his wife to put Hannay in the barn. The wife knows the husband will betray him, so she gives Hannay her husband’s dark  coat and Hannay thanks her, running off.

Along came a spider morgan freeman running

The men walk across the moor searching for Hannay. They are having to crawl through the hills and rocks, running like in Invasion of the Body SnatchersAlthough Hannay has to cross gushing streams and rivers.

Hannay flees to the Englishmen’s house, Professor Jordan, asking to come in saying he is from Annabella Smith. He goes in, and when the men later reach the house and ask the maid if Hannay has come by, she tells them there has been no one for half an hour. She lied to help him? Maybe this really is the guy Annabella wanted to see.

Then again I could be wrong.

Then again I could be wrong.

So Annabella’s name gains him access to the house. Professor Jordan in charge asks him to wait a bit as they are celebrating his daughter’s birthday. He introduces Hannay to his wife. Hannay is then introduced to all these movers and shakers in that area of Scotland. Professor Jordan tells him to look at the view, where they see the men searching the river for Hannay.

h party beaks up and the professor locks them in the room. Hannay tells him that Annabella was murdered that is why he came. Professor Jordan asks him why he came to see him, and Hannay tells him how Annabella was coming to warn him about the foreign agent.

Professor Jordan: Did she tell you what he looked ike?

Richard Hannay: There wasn’t time. She did tell me he was missing a finger.

Professor Jordan: Which hand?

Richard Hannay: [holds up left hand] this one I think.

Professor Jordan: Are you sure she didn’t mean this one? [holds up right hand and reveals he is missing his pinky finger.]

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Too bad for Hannay, the professor has been playing him since the beginning. The professor decides tat the only thing to do is kill Hannay. He lives in Scotland as a respected citizen, he can’t have him there starting rumors or saying things against him. Besides he has his information on the defense of England and needs to get it out of the country. He tries to get Hannay to commit suicide, as it is much tidier, butHannay says no so the professor shoots him in the heart.

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTTT????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

And this was where my DVD died. Is that it? Is he dead???!!!! How could they do that???? Is that all there is????????

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

In the next scene we see out country couple. The husband is searchiung for his hymn book but can’t find it. It was last in his overcoat. Turns out that it stopped a bullet for Hannay.

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Hannay goes to the sheriff telling him everything. The Sheriff eagerly listens and says he will happily help him.

Finally something GOOD!

Finally something GOOD!

Turns out all a lie, the Sheriff just playing him until the henchmen, who he believes agents of the government, come to get him. He tells the sherif to call Scotland Yard in London. but he won’t as they men will be taking him there. Yeah right, they are going to kill him. Hannay manages to get away, breaking through a window and joining a Scotland parade to hide. He then quickly ducks into an assembly hall. They are waiting for their speaker who is running late and assume it is him.

OhNOthisisgonnabebad

He sits on the stage he is thrust on. They introduce the professor they are waiting for, and Hanny finds himself on stage.

Richard Hannay: Ladies and gentleman I apologize for my hesitation in rising just now, but to tell you the simple truth I’d entirely failed while listening to the chairman’s flattering description of the next speaker to realize that he was talking about me.

He has no idea what he is supposed to be talking on, and as he is talking, He looks into the crowd and spots the women he used earlier on the train.

He starts asking the crowd what they want to talk about. He grabs onto the topic of the “idle rich” and starts ranting about what he has been through carefully hiding it between political speech.

Richard Hannay: I know what it is to feel lonely and helpless and to have the whole world against me, and those are things that no men or women ought to feel.

It starts a huge momentum as everyone is cheering and wanting to shake his hand, helping him sneak out, but then he is grabbed by the henchmen, lead by the girl.

He asks the girl to help him, telling London the information. The two guys look at each other and decide it is better to be safe than sorry, telling the girl, Pamela, she has to come with them.

They drive to the “police station”, passing it as they are going to another one 40 miles away. We know they aren’t, something Hannay tries to get Pamela to understand that they are taking them to the spy, Professor Jordan, to kill him. They have to stop the car as a huge flock of sheep are in the way. They handcuff Hannay and the girl together, as they go to move the sheep.

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As soon as they are gone, Hannay gets out of there dragging the girl with him. They hide under a bridge, Hannay forcing her to be quiet until the men pass. Lucky it is a foggy night, as the two run through the moors. The girl tries to escape, but Hannay keeps pulling her along.

The two’s dialogue is just amazingly hilarious as they constantly bicker and fight.  Hannay is angry as he has not only told her three times of his innocence, but the men clearly taking them 40 miles “to the police station” and going the wrong way should prove his innocence. But she won’t listen. As she insists he is a murderer Hannay decides to use that to get her to do what he says.

They find an inn, and go inside. Hannay tells the innkeeper that they are man and wife, and he asks for a room and supper. He tells Pamela he has a gun, his finger in his pocket,  which gets her to sign the book for them. She tries to get her away, but he keeps pushing her on with him. Hannay also tells the innkeeper they are a runaway couple, with people after them. People used to elope to Scotland all the time, so the innkeeper doesn’t find it strange but romantic.

Hannay tells Pamela she should take her skirt off as it being wet could make her sick. She refuses, but takes her stockings off, and as they go over to the fireplace, Hannay hangs them up for her.

She doesn’t want to lie on the bed, but Hannay makes her as he is tired, and where he goes she goes. As I said before their conversation are hilarious. He starts making up lies about killing as she thinks he is a murderer. But you can tell they aren’t true as he is being sarcastic. The film is worth watching for the amazing dialogue. I wish I could get a copy of that scene to place here.

I love it

The two go to sleep. The professor/spy leader prepares to move out, and try to take care of this Hannay problem.

Meanwhile, the Pamela has woken up.

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She tries to use the nail file to pick at the lock but when that doesn’t work, squeezes her wrist out, rubbing it raw. She sneaks away and starts downstairs.

She sees the men who she was in the car with and plans to go to them, but overhears them talking on the phone and realizes Hannay is telling the truth about everything, They question the innkeeper about the couple, and before he can answer, his wife comes down and chases them all out.

The girl heads upstairs, feeling sorry for being so mean and cruel to him, when he’s been given a rough break. She goes to the couch and goes to sleep.

The next morning, Hannay finds himself free of the  girl. He is freaked, but sees her on the couch. He asked her why she didn’t leave and she tells him everything she overheard. Hannay starts putting everything together, and is angry that the men didn’t stay the night but left right away. The two rush over to the London Palladium, where the men said they would pick up the “package”.

In London, Pamela goes o Scotland Yard to tell them all the information from Annabella. They don’t really believe it and ask for Mr. Hannay, but she won’t tell him.

No thank youhowaboutno

She rushes out to the Palladium to find Hannay, Scotland Yard detectives behind her. They shut the Palladium down  as they are truing to catch Hannay once and for all.

Through binoculars Hannay sees that the professor is there. Hannay isn’t sure what to do, when he is joined by Pamela. When he hears the tune he has been whistling everywhere. It’s Mr. Memory!

That's it!

That’s it!

He must be the package they are after and want to get rid off. Scotland Yard finds Hannay, arresting him, when he shouts out “What are the 39 Steps? As Mr. Memory answers, the professor shoots him.

The professor tries to flee, but he didn’t know that all the exits were blocked. Hannay asks Mr. Memory about the information, and he reveals that it was a huge job to memorize, plans to build a new ship. After talking a little about them, he dies, and it is all over for Hannay. He is cleared and able to go on his way, now with Pamela in the picture.

TheEnd_Title_2

What a great film. And very under appreciated. You should watch it and love it, as it is amazing.

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To start Horrorfest IV from the beginning, go to You Cannot Conquer It. It Has Conquered You!: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

For the previous post, go to A Modern Mummy: Under Wraps (1997)

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For more Alfred Hitchcock films, go to That Place…There’s Queer Things Goes on in There: Jamaica Inn (1939)

For more films based on books, go to They’re Here Already! You’re Next!: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

Because I Am Mad, I Hate You. Because I Am Mad, I Have Betrayed You: Gaslight (1944)

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…Because I am mad, I hate you. Because I am mad, I have betrayed you. And because I’m mad, I’m rejoicing in my heart, without a shred of pity, without a shred of regret, watching you go with glory in my heart!

So last year I reviewed the Alfred Hitchcock film Under Capricorn. In the post, I mentioned how it wasn’t widely received or enjoyed by critics and audiences, one of the reasons being its similarity to this film, and because starred two of the same actors; Ingrid Bergman and Joseph Cotten. I personally like Under Capricorn better, but let’s take a look at this film.

So the movie is based on a play, and a remake of the film that came out four years prior to this one. It won an Oscar for best set design, best actress, and critical praise for all actors.

This is a historical fiction film, taking place at the turn of the century. The name of the film comes from the gaslights used in houses. Lights in the London house are from fixtures with gas flames, and when you light one light, it reduces gas supply to the other lights in the house that are close by, causing the lights to dim.

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Renowned opera singer, Alice Alquist, is strangled to death in her London home, No. 9 Thornton square. The thief is searching for her famed emeralds, but is interrupted and flees. Paula Alquist (Ingrid Bergman), Alice’s niece,  has been living with her aunt ever since her parents died. She finds the body and becomes completely traumatized.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She moves to Italy, where she studies music, following in the footsteps of her aunt.

Ten years later, Paula confesses to her voice teacher, Maestro Guardi, that she has finally been able to move past that point and has fallen in love.

iLoveyou

Maestro doesn’t want to lose his most talented student, but wants Paula to be happy, and encourages her to follow her heart.

Gowithyourheart

She does and accepts the proposal of the handsome Gregory Anton, a pianist she has only known two weeks.

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During their honeymoon, Gregory tells Paula he has always dreamed of living in a fashionable London square. Anxious to please her hubby, she suggests that they move into her aunt’s house.

Something bad is going to go down. I can just feel it.

Something bad is going to go down. I can just feel it.

When they move in Paula begins to have nightmares about what she saw before.

i'mscared

Gregory tells her that it will help is they remove everything that belonged to her aunt up into the attic, sealing it up. But then strange things start happening.

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

The flame keeps going down, although no other lights nearby are being used. Why is it dimming!!

Never a good sign.

Never a good sign.

And what is making that weird noise in a sealed attic. Gregory doesn’t hear anything at all, and Paula begins thinking she might be going crazy!

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One day Paula discovers a note to her aunt.

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It was dated two days before her murder, from a Sergius Bauer. He begged to see Paula’s aunt, very intensely. She shows it to Gregory who becomes upset over the whole thing and quickly silences Paula.

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It is clear there is more to this man than his charming, suave, and handsome personality.

Meanwhile, Paula continues to hear things even though Gregory and the servants say that there is nothing. Paula starts questioning herself, and becomes more insecure every day.

I don't know what to do

To make matters worse, Gregory has hired a saucy, young maid, Nancy. She os played by Angela Lansbury in her first film role. This maid is rude and cruel to Paula, making her feel worse and even crazier. Nancy is also making a ploy for Gregory.

Nancy Oliver: Gonna work on your tunes again tonight, sir? You’re always working, aren’t you?

Gregory Anton: Yes. What are you doing with your evening out?

Nancy Oliver: Oh, I’m going to a music hall… [starts to sing ‘Up in a balloon’]

Gregory Anton: I’ve never been to an English music hall.

Nancy Oliver: Oh, you don’t know what you’ve missed, sir…

Gregory Anton: And whom are you going to the music hall with?

Nancy Oliver: A gentleman friend, sir.

Gregory Anton: Oh, now you know, Nancy, don’t you, that gentlemen friends are sometimes inclined to take liberties with young ladies.

Nancy Oliver: Oh no, sir, not with me. I can take care of myself – when I want to.

Gregory Anton: You know, Nancy, it strikes me that you’re not at all the kind of girl that your mistress should have for a housemaid.

Nancy Oliver: [flirtatiously] No, sir? She’s not the only one in the house – is she?

Paula’s life is quickly becoming worse and worse.

Three months later, Paula and Gregory are going to go to a Tower of London tour. Gregory gives her a brooch that once belonged to his grandmother. He warns her to be careful, as the clasp is broken, and not to lose it. Paula puts it in her purse, but while they are at the tour she starts to worry that she lost it. When she checks the purse, it is gone!

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

While looking at the crown jewels exhibit, she is approached by Brian Cameron. In the original play and film, this character was stout and elderly. However, that didn’t suit Hollywood. So instead they made him the young and very attractive Joseph Cotten.

LOL Cotton and Cotton

So Brian greets her very warmly. It turns out he was a huge fan of her aunt, and momentarily mistook her for the aunt. Gregory doesn’t like Brian and questions Paula about him, but she insists that she has never met him before.

That night Paula confesses about losing the brooch, and Gregory yells at her “forgetfulness” that is running rampant. It seems that Paula is always forgetting things and hearing things that aren’t there.

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That night Paula sees the gaslights dimming again, and also hears noises that sound like footprints.

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Why is this happening to her? Why is she going crazy??!!

Under Capricorn Aah oh no ugh

Two months later, Brian comes around Thornton Square. He is curious about Paula as he has never seen her anywhere, even though they run in the same social circles. He should have seen her at a party.

He goes to question Paula’s neighbor, when he notices Paula about to leave the house. Before she can go out, she is bullied by Nancy to stay in. It is clear who thinks they are the mistress of the house.

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From The Picture of Dorian Gray

It turns out that Brian is more than a music lover, he works for Scotland Yard.

WE NEED TO FIND CORNELIA!!!

He goes to the office and starts looking into the case file on Alice Alquist’s murder. Alice was given some amazing jewels from a secret admirer, all which are missing now. Did the thief manage to get them all? Or did Alice hide them very well?

suspicious Hmm

He is convinced that Paula is in danger, and assigns a detective to watch over her house.

Meanwhile, Paula is convinced that the maid is trying to get rid of her. She tries to talk about this with Gregory, but he thinks it is just an addition to her madness, there is paranoia.

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Brian poses as the neighbor’s nephew. He tries to see her, when Gregory refuses. Paula is shocked at his behavior, why is he being so rude?

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Her mood quickly changes when Gregory tells her that he is taking her to the theater. However, before they leave Gregory accuses Paula of taking a painting down.

Paula never did any such thing.

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Gregory finds the painting on the stairs, and tells her that this is the third time she has done it. She is getting worse.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Paula reveals to him about the noises she has been hearing and Gregory tells her she is too unwell to go out. Now Paula is stuck at home and scared that she might get sent away to a mental institution.

Gregory leaves to his music studio, while Paula is home alone and hearing the strange noises.

Why is this happening?!!

Why is this happening?!!

Brian is invited to a piano concert at Lord and Lady Dalroy. Gregory and Paula were invited but Gregory refused, as he believes Paula is too sick. Paula is furious and tells him she wants to go and will go without him. Gregory changes his mind and agrees to accompany her.

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When they get to the concert, Gregory tells Paula that his watch is missing. Paula ends up finding it in her purse, even though she knows she never put it in there, and causes a huge scene, Gregory then deciding to take her home.

When they reach the house, Paula says that all her problems began when she found that letter to her Aunt from Sergius Bauer. Gregory tells her he has no idea what she is talking about as no such letter ever existed.

Is she crazy? Or is there someone trying to make her think she is crazy?

Carnival of Souls Don't know real

Gregory yells at Paula, telling her she is going as crazy as her mother. He informs her that as she is going insane, he has already arranged for two doctors to examine and treat her.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Gregory leaves, and when he does Brian and another officer follow him, but lose him in the fog.

Inside, Paula hears the footsteps again and asks the cook if she hears anything. The cook says no, this just reenforces to Paula that she is crazy!

Under Capricorn Aah oh no ugh

Brian has been watching  the house and figured out that when Gregory leaves, he doesn’t go to his music studio but into the deserted No. 5 and crosses the roof into the attic of No. 9.

The next night, Brian waits until Gregory has left the house, and then goes in to see Paula, trying to convince her she is sane.

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Upstairs, Gregory is in the attic tearing everything apart as he is searching for something.

Downstairs, Brian forces Gregory’s desk opens and finds that Gregory’s gun is missing. Paula also finds the note that Gregory told her “doesn’t exist.”

WE NEED TO FIND CORNELIA!!!

They compare the letter to Gregory’s writing, and Brian figures out that Gregory is Sergius Bauer, the man he suspected killed Paula’s aunt. He was searching for the jewels and couldn’t find them, having to leave that night, and resurfacing to marry Paula to gain access to the jewels.

Upstairs, Gregory has finally found the jewels in an opera costume. When the gaslights pick up, Brian knows it is time to get out of there. He takes off and then goes up through No. 5 to the attic.

Gregory comes downstairs and finds his desk broken.

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He yells at Paula, but is interrupted by Brian who has come through the attic with the destroyed costume.

Gregory Anton: I knew from the first moment I saw you that you were dangerous to me.

Brian Cameron: I knew from the first moment I saw you that you were dangerous to her.

Gregory rushes upstairs and the two fight. A gunshot rings out!

WE NEED TO FIND CORNELIA!!!

Paula runs upstairs to see what happened. There she finds Gregory tied up in a chair.

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And we have what I think is the best scene in the movie.

Brian comes to take him away.

Gregory Anton: I don’t ask you to understand me. Between us all the time were those jewels, like a fire – a fire in my brain that separated us – those jewels which I wanted all my life. I don’t know why… Goodbye, Paula.

Brian consoles Paula, telling her he will always be around if she needs him.

From Under Capricorn

From Under Capricorn

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I know that Ingrid Bergman actually studied people suffering from different issues, observing at a local mental hospital, but I felt her delivery in Under Capricorn was much stronger than this one.

Otherwise, it is not a bad film and a pretty good thriller.halloween banner

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To start Horrorfest IV from the beginning, go to You Cannot Conquer It. It Has Conquered You!: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

For the previous post, go to A Man Without a Face: The Bat (1959)

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For more Ingrid Bergman, go to The Past of a Man: Under Capricorn (1949)

For more on Joseph Cotten, go to You Think You Know Something, Don’t You?: Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

For more on Angela Lansbury, go to If Only It Was the Picture Who Was To Grow Old, and I Remain Young: The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)

For more on husbands that are more than what they seem, go to She Cries in the Night: The Screaming Skull (1958)

For more historical fiction films, go to That Place…There’s Queer Things Goes On There: Jamaica Inn (1939)

For more remakes, go to There are Thirteen Chairs at the Table…And That’s Unlucky: Mystery of the 13th Guest (1943)

For more films based on plays, go to I Do Think You Are Confused, Mrs. Bowman: Dangerous Crossing (1953)