A solid second tier Hitchcock thriller
- Stage Fright review by NP
The 'All the world's a stage and every one of us is giving a performance' theme might be somewhat hoary, but Hitchcock delivers a reliably solid elaboration of it here, replete with the colourful supporting turns, sly humour and atmospherics that one would expect.
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- Stage Fright review by Steve Mason
For this loosely plotted comedy thriller with a theatrical setting, Hitch was back in London, filming with big stars and a rich supporting cast. Apparently he made it so he could visit his daughter Patricia at RADA. She makes her film debut.
The narrative begins with Richard Todd telling Jane Wyman a story about having to clear up after Marlene Dietrich killed her (Marlene's) husband. We see this happen in flashback, though it was a lie. It's hard to understand the kerfuffle this caused; there were unreliable narrators long before Stage Fright.
The real joy of the film is that gallery of British character actors, with especially Alastair Sim and Kay Walsh a riot. Richard Todd does well in a civilian role. Michael Wilding performs his usual Cary Grant impression as the detective who has an eye out for Wyman, as well as the killer. The Master always makes a lot out of a kiss, and the extremely long prelude to the kiss of Wilding and Wyman is a typical touch.
The big weakness is the pallid performance from Ms. Wyman who flounders in such piquant company. A touch of screwball from her would have brightened the occasional longeuer. It's a bit short on thrills, but that cast makes it worthwhile.
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