“Damn the pictures and the wireless. I want some life — life, I tell you!”
When a bored accountant (Henry Kendall) receives an unexpected inheritance, he and his wife (Joan Barry) travel to Paris and then on an ocean liner, where Kendall falls for a seductive princess (Betty Amann) and Barry becomes enamored with a wealthy bachelor (Percy Marmont).
This early talkie by Alfred Hitchcock — scripted by his wife, Alma Reville — is an unevenly paced cautionary tale against the perils of sudden wealth (turns out money can’t buy you love or stability, and can wreak havoc with loyalty — who knew?). Since Kendall is an annoying ninny, we tend to automatically side with angel-faced Barry — but it’s simply not all that interesting watching their marriage disintegrate under the pressures of romantic distractions. In an unusual twist, the couple find themselves stranded at sea, and their dehumanizing attitude towards a group of Chinese crewmen (and one woman) simply highlights how out of touch with cosmopolitan reality this naive pair is. At least it’s clear they really do belong with one another.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Some creatively filmed and edited opening sequences
- Innovative cinematography
No; this one is strictly must-see for Hitchcock fans.