Jan. 22, 2011
19. Stage Fright (1950)
Starring Jane Wyman, Marlene Dietrich, Michael Wilding, Richard Todd, Alastair Sim
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Plot: “A struggling actress tries to help a friend prove his innocence when he’s accused of murdering the husband of a high society entertainer.” (from IMDb)
I rather liked this one. For some reason though, it seems to be one of the Hitchcock films that doesn’t get discussed much. I thought it was very entertaining and the surprise twist was very clever. The British setting, lovely recurring piano theme, beautiful lighting, and array of British actors—such as the amusing Alastair Sim (who nearly stole the film)—were added bonuses. Marlene Dietrich has an interesting role here, playing almost a parody of herself. As for Jane Wyman, I’ve read some opinions that see her as miscast, but I thought that she did a good job. The romance between her and Wilding (he had really odd hair, though) was especially sweet, and I felt like she played the part just right. Although this is a suspense/mystery film, there are a lot of charming and humorous moments. Some feel a bit out of place but most hit the mark in contributing to a satisfying film. The ending does feel a little abrupt. (I can’t think of an alternative, though!) In my opinion, this is one that is worth watching.