The Ring ★★

Week 3 of 52 Weeks of Hitchcock!

A romantic melodrama more in the style of The Pleasure Garden than The Lodger, this is a pretty minor film, all things considered. It's eminently more watchable than The Pleasure Garden, due in part to a tighter middle, less meandering plot, and more engaging characters. And it gets points for an early misdirect as to who our sympathies will ultimately lie with. But for the most part it's entirely predictable, with a healthy dollop of misogyny on top, to boot. It certainly shows Hitchcock's growth as a filmmaker; like The Lodger, the framing & editing are tight and satisfying. The fight scenes aren't exactly Raging Bull (or even Rocky), but for the time they're actually not bad, and Hitchcock builds tension by first shooting the fight from outside the ring, then moving in for the second round. At one point there's even a dialogue title on-screen superimposed over a character speaking -- a subtitle, in effect -- and I'm not sure I've ever seen that in a silent film before.

Technically, not a bad film. But it's fairly lightweight and forgettable, and features few if any of Hitchcock's signature themes or flourishes.

Also, holy cow, I wouldn't think it'd be that hard to get through a SILENT film without someone dropping the n-bomb, but this movie just had to get one in.