Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Writers: Noel Coward & Eliot Stannard
The story begins in a courtroom where the leading lady is in court for divorce because she was in association with another man who had attacked her husband. Quite scandalous. After the divorce, Larita moves to the Mediterranean to put her past behind her. However, she encounters a dashing young man, John, who quickly falls for her. They get married and then she must hide her scandalous from him and his family and that’s your story.
The way that time was used in the opening 20 minutes of the courtroom scene was brilliant. The way they edited it was what made the difference (and the editing throughout was quite good). It moved so seamlessly from the court to the memory of the crime, cutting back and forth. What they would do is concentrate on an item in the courtroom and then phase it out to the item in the memory and vice-versa. Really brilliant stuff. Once again Hitchcock’s camera was doin’ work and doin’ it well.The actress that played Larita and also the actress that played Mrs. Whittaker both did great jobs of playing off of one another. As you can imagine they are enemies in the picture, and they make sure you know it. John and his father, on the other hand, are the optimistic ones, they both give Larita the benefit of the doubt, they just like her. Mrs. Whittaker remains skeptical, however, and the actress does a marvelous job. At the end of the day, the father, Mr. Whittaker, is the one who knows what he’s talking about and he is my favorite character therefore.
There was a great deal of text for this silent film, something I have not seen a lot of in the few silent films I have seen, but I welcomed it. The moral of the story remains true today and I appreciated it. There are some people out there with such venom and who are so set in their ways that nothing can change them and what a shame that is, but the virtue of forgiveness is, as they say, divine. The story remains engaging, even after the brilliance of the prologue, if you will. The story is interesting and involving enough to entertain. Enough so that it has me interested to see last year’s remake…especially since it has Kristin Scott Thomas and Colin Firth, both of whom I like.