The Manxman

Week 8 (late) of 52 Weeks of Hitchcock!

As a swan song to Hitchcock's silent era, this melodrama is ... well, astonishingly anti-climactic. Though slightly more visually interesting than some of Hitchcock's other early stuff, just by virtue of having been shot on location in a tiny seaside village, this film nevertheless never rises about basic competence when it comes to its cinematography, framing, or set-pieces (not that there's really anything that can be described as a set-piece here).

Other than The Ring, this is probably Hitchcock's most misogynistic silent film, much of the plot revolving around the fact that the lead female character is by turns flighty, indecisive, dishonest, cruelly cold, cowardly, and selfish. Granted, the men don't fare much better -- one is a bumbling oaf, the other a lofty lawyer cum judge who cares more about his career than his love and his illegitimate child. All told, everyone here is pretty unpleasant, and the universal unhappiness of everyone at the end of the film seems to be the point. Don't lie and cheat, or this shit will happen to you.

For a film only 80 minutes long, this film dragged unendingly after the first 20 minutes or so. Once again, I really can't recommend this one for anyone other than silent enthusiasts or Hitchcock completists. It lacks even the flashes of Hitchcockian brilliance we've seen in some of his other silent films. It's just bland and dull and overly moralistic.