Friday, June 14, 2024

Fri -mat one

You know the Hitchcock version ... try this one:


Review

Often criticised for being a shot-for-shot remake of the Hitchcock original, this film is in fact a perky little thriller which benefits from Kenneth More being a more sympathetic leading man than Robert Donat (he was somewhat aloof) in the '39 version. 

True, the film trades heavily off the script for the Hitchcock version, and true it does not go back to the original novel for context, spirit or historical setting in the way the '78 version does; but for me, the film is the jewel among the three. As well as a pacy and fun thriller, it catches the spirit of the England and Scotland of the time. 

It is also interesting to note the role of the two hit-men characters; they are shadowy background figures in the '39 version, but here they are more fully flushed out (and well played by Duncan Lamont and Michael Goodlife). In the '78 version (and the unofficial remake called North By Northwest) the role of the hit-men is further developed and the suspense increased as a result.

Other things to watch out for in the '59 version are Sidney James, Brian Oulton and a host of supporting players (not to mention Tania Elg's legs in the remake of the stocking-removing scene, all the more intriguing for being in colour). Long available on VHS in the UK, this film now sadly seems to be deleted and is much missed.



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