Number Seventeen (1932)

“Number Seventeen” (1932)



3 visions

If this had been Hitchcock’s last movie, it would only have some historical interest today. But because he went on to direct films such as Rope and Rear Window, this little film (and others) becomes important for us to trace where his curious camera eye began.

I want to check other Hitch’s films from this time, but right now, for my eyes, in this moment he was strongly attached to two existing visual conceptions and wanting to develop his own.

So we have strong contrasts, where shadow draws actions, or objects or even characters and that defines the mood of the action, following German expressionism (that would later support perfectly the narrative construction of the noir films). Hitch is not a genius in this film, but he mastered it quite well. This is present in the first part of the film, in the house.

He also follows Eisenstein, and the train section is a quite good montage. He handles the models quite well, and the editing has a good rhythm and balance. Once again he is competent.

But the great thing in here is in the first half of the film: the camera movement. I bet he chose that house with that stair pit so he could play with what interested him the most. The camera moves and explores space, the scene where the detective (and ourselves) get into the house for the first time is a precocious demonstration of what his ‘Rope phase’ would bring. The first third of the film is basically going up and down the stairs, finding out things, exploring them with the camera.

His ‘McGuffin’ strategy is a mess here, where he still couldn’t make the plot enough simple and effective to make us forget it and concentrate in what he was doing in the eye. It’s confusing, and so complex (so many unnecessary characters!) that it may want to try to invent a meaning for all that. Well, i didn’t care and enjoyed this for the visual manipulation Hitch makes.

This film is broken into pieces (starting with the plot) and divided into cinema tendencies. Every bit is competent enough, but the overall result is quite messy. Well, he was experimenting.

My opinion: 2/5

This comment on IMDb


0 Responses to “Number Seventeen (1932)”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s