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Yorkshire Post (31/May/1927) - The Cinema World: New German and British Pictures



The Cinema World: New German and British Pictures

Ivor Novello in "Downhill."

"Downhill" is the latest Ivor Novello picture, directed by Alfred Hitchcock for Gainsborough Pictures, and distributed by W. and F., who held the trade show last week. Mr. Novello has already had success in the stage play of the same name from which the film is taken, and I have no doubt that he will succeed in the film, for Mr. Hitchcock is remarkably skilful at combining clever photography with sound "entertainment value." But this story of an innocent school boy's road to ruin is childish nonsense. We are asked to believe that the head master of a public school accepts without question the unsupported word of an obvious little minx from a tea shop, accusing his head prefect of having seduced her. Without inquiry the head master insinuates to Roddie that he must instantly pack his bags. Roddie arrives in London, where his father, not to be outdone by the head master, violently disowns him. The door slams mid we see Roddie starting down a tube escalator—symbolism—on the downward career that is to take him through chorus work to sudden wealth, to marriage with an expensive actress, poverty, cabaret dancing, and so at last happily home again.

Mr. Novello acts very competently throughout the picture, and Miss Annette Benson, as the minx who gets him expelled, displays the greatest promise. She will soon be well known. The direction and photography are consistently vivid, ingenious, and effective, but it is pretty plain that Mr. Hitchcock does not take this sort of stuff seriously.

I am glad to see that he is now to direct a story of his own, called "The Ring," for British Instructional. Carl Brisson, the young musical comedy actor, will have a boxing part, and Miss Lilian Hall-Davis will play the heroine. I am glad, too, that Miss Annette Benson is shortly to have a starring opportunity in "Shooting Stars," to be made by British Instructional.