“What’s gentility worth, if it can’t stand fire?”
Once more I’d been led to believe this was far worse than I personally found it. It’s another play adaptation by Hitchcock about which he himself had very little to say. It pretty much had me very early on with a stunning dissolve between the two extremes of society it paints a picture of the conflict between: a girl on a horseback riding down a tree-lined road, and a rich man driving towards his expensive house in noisy motor car, both in perfect symmetry to further draw the eye:
These two images pretty much say everything the movie wants to say in just a few seconds. The French critic who introduces the film on the DVD I have sounds perfectly baffled as to why Hitch would have chosen to direct this movie but to me it seems perfectly clear. The Farmer’s Wife had shown his love of the English countryside and here we see the threat of its disappearance at the hands of money men (the very last shot, even, following a tragic climax, is that of a single tree being felled). Juno & the Paycock showed his concern for class issues, and that too comes through here. I don’t know, I still wouldn’t call this one of his best works, but I do believe it feels a lot more like a Hitchcock movie somehow than his other “non-Hitchcockian” works of the time.