Stage Fright (Hitchcock film)

I was pleasantly surprised by Stage Fright (1950) which is not considered one of Alfred Hitchcock’s best films. The recent Warner Archive+ Blu-ray looks great. The film is not that suspenseful and begins with a controversial fake flashback.

The strengths of the film are the acting and dialogue. Marlene Dietrich plays an actress and captures your full attention whenever she’s on the screen. I read that she also told the crew how to light her scenes and they are reminiscent of her von Sternberg films. The mostly English cast is fine especially supporting actors Alistair Sim and Sybil Thorndike. Jane Wyman is understated as the lead and Richard Todd does not make a strong villain. Michael Wilding exudes competence as the detective.

One of my favorite lines: Dietrich asks Wyman how she is but says ” You needn’t go into detail, darling. I hope you’re not going to turn into one of those explicit people who always tell you exactly how they feel when you ask them.”

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