The Skin Game ★★★

The Skin Game originated as a stage play (1931) written by John Galsworthy. The film, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, is a mostly faithful version of the play: a newly rich, somewhat boorish, industrialist (Edmund Gwenn) clashes with a country gentleman and his wife (CV France and Helen Haye). The industrialist is building factories in the neighborhood and disrupting the traditional ways of the long settled, old-fashioned, upper class family. Their disagreements come to a head when the industrialist wants to buy land near the family’s home and build a factory on it.

The dated play holds viewer interest because of the first rate actors in the cast. Hitchcock was in a period that he considered the least productive of his career; his creative abilities were underutilized directing dreary literary and theatrical adaptations. This film is a good example. Hitchcock was unable to add much distinction to the production, although a few of his “touches” are noticeable, mostly involving background sounds unrelated to the activities occurring in the foreground.