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The Manxman (1929)

director Alfred Hitchcock
producer John Maxwell
writer Eliot Stannard
story by Hall Caine (original novel)
starring Carl Brisson
Malcolm Keen
Anny Ondra
cinematographer Jack E. Cox
editor Emile de Ruelle
running time 88 minutes (7,932 feet)
colour black & white
sound mix silent with English intertitles
aspect ratio 1.33:1
studio British International Pictures
distributor Wardour Films (UK)
availability DVD


Despite their differing backgrounds, fisherman Pete and lawyer Philip have been life long friends on the Isle of Man. Pete wants to marry Kate, the landlord's daughter at the local inn, however Kate's father doesn't think he is good enough. Pete leaves the island to seek his fortune abroad and entrusts Kate to Philip, but they start to be attracted to each other.


Sir Hall Caine's "The Manxman", published in 1894, was one of his greatest successes, eventually selling over half a million copies. Several stage adaptations soon followed, along with a film adaptation in 1916 directed by George Loane Tucker and starring Henry Ainley and Adeline Hayden Coffin.[1]



Eliot Stannard's scenario for the film marked the end of his eight-film collaboration with Hitchcock. Stannard went on to write for another seven films before leaving the industry in the early 1930s, by which time he had over 150 writing credits to his name.


Brisson, Keen and Ondra

The cast was announced by British International Pictures in July 1928. Alongside Czechoslovakian actress Anny Ondra, making her first of two films for Hitchcock, Carl Brisson and Malcolm Keen returned for their final film with the director.

Principal Photography

The Cornish coast

Filming began in early August. Despite initial reports that Hitchcock would use the Isle of Man, the setting of Caine's book, location filming took place on the Cornish coastline and at Polperro Harbour.[2][3]

The cast and crew returned to Elstree Studios in late September and filming was quickly completed.[4]

According to Donald Spoto, studio head John Maxwell disliked the film so much that it was temporarily shelved until a positive trade screening, combined with the success of "Blackmail", changed his mind.[5]

Release & Reception

In general, the reviews of "The Manxman" were more positive than for "Champagne", with The Bioscope stating that only a "skilful director could have devised from a story of this kind a picture of remarkable power and gripping interest."[6]

Wardour publicity poster

Writing in "Hitchcock's British Films", Maurice Yacowar praises the film:

In terms of Hitchcock’s development, The Manxman is a minor gem. It has his richest text up to that point, the most touching characterization, and some of the strongest imagery. Hobbled by a tangential morality, the film is still a fuller realization of human nature than his subsequent thrillers.[7]

In his conversations with François Truffaut, Hitchcock was dismissive, calling it "a very banal picture" and stating that the "only point of interest about that movie is that it was my last silent one."[8]


As part of the "Save the Hitchcock 9" campaign, started in 2010, the British Film Institute undertook a full restoration of "The Manxman". Unlike the other silent films, the original camera negative was available and was used for the project.[9]

See Also...

For further relevant information about this film, see also...

DVD Releases

released in 2008

1008.gif Laquelle des Trois (1928) / Manxman (1929) - Studio Canal (France, 2008)
R2 PAL 1.33:1

released in 2007

1206.gif The Manxman (1929) - Lionsgate (USA, 2007) - part of a box set
R1 NTSC 1.33:1
1205.gif The Manxman (1929) - Optimum Releasing (UK, 2007) - part of a box set
R2 PAL 1.33:1

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Image Gallery

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Cast and Crew

Directed by:


Produced by:

Written by:

Photographed by:

Edited by:

Notes & References

  1. English Hitchcock (2000) by Charles Barr, page 224
  2. The Times (23/May/1928) - The Film World
  3. Wikipedia: Polperro
  4. Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light (2003) by Patrick McGilligan, page 106
  5. The Dark Side of Genius: The Life of Alfred Hitchcock (1983) by Donald Spoto, page 117
  6. The Bioscope (23/Jan/1929)
  7. "Hitchcock's British Films" - by Maurice Yacowar, page 75
  8. Hitchcock (1967) by François Truffaut, page 61
  9. Journal of Film Preservation (2012) - London - Restoring Hitchcock
Hitchcock's Major Films
1920s The Pleasure Garden · The Mountain Eagle · The Lodger · Downhill · Easy Virtue · The Ring · The Farmer's Wife · Champagne · The Manxman · Blackmail
1930s Juno and the Paycock · Murder! · The Skin Game · Rich and Strange · Number Seventeen · Waltzes from Vienna · The Man Who Knew Too Much · The 39 Steps · Secret Agent · Sabotage · Young and Innocent · The Lady Vanishes · Jamaica Inn
1940s Rebecca · Foreign Correspondent · Mr and Mrs Smith · Suspicion · Saboteur · Shadow of a Doubt · Lifeboat · Spellbound · Notorious · The Paradine Case · Rope · Under Capricorn
1950s Stage Fright · Strangers on a Train · I Confess · Dial M for Murder · Rear Window · To Catch a Thief · The Trouble with Harry · The Man Who Knew Too Much · The Wrong Man · Vertigo · North by Northwest
1960s Psycho · The Birds · Marnie · Torn Curtain · Topaz
1970s Frenzy · Family Plot
view full filmography