Combustible Celluloid
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With: Henry Kendall, Joan Barry, Percy Marmont, Betty Amann, Elsie Randolph, Arty Ash
Written by: Alfred Hitchcock, Alma Reville, Val Valentine, based on a novel by Dale Collins
Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 92
Date: 12/10/1931

Rich and Strange (1931)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Schmooze Ship

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

A film very worthy of its title Alfred Hitchcock's Rich and Strange (1931) -- a.k.a. East of Shanghai -- is based on a novel by Dale Collins. A working class London couple, Fred (Henry Kendall) and Emily Hill (Joan Barry) suddenly inherit enough money to go traveling and experience life. While Fred lies seasick in his cabin, Emily meets the dashing Commander Gordon (Percy Marmont), and while her guard is down, Fred meets the enchanting "Princess" (Betty Amann). The story never goes precisely where you might expect, and Hitchcock guides it along effortlessly, avoiding the heavy-handed approach that might have accompanied this material. It contains several gorgeous shots, such as the all-silent opening montage, demonstrating the working class at rush hour (Fred is the only worker bee who can't open his umbrella). In another, Emily and the Commander take a private stroll to the lower decks of their cruise ship; Hitch focuses on her elegant gown as it sweeps over oily chains and ropes, while the music changes from a proper waltz to a bawdy drinking song. Kino Lorber's fine 2022 Blu-ray release includes a beautiful 4K restoration, a commentary track by historian Troy Howarth, audio from Francois Truffaut's interview with Hitchcock, trailers, and more.

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