STAGE FRIGHT

Stage Fright(1950)
With Jane Wyman, Richard Todd, Marlene Dietrich, Michael Wilding, Alastair Sim
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Black and White
Reviewed by JL

     A more entertaining film that reputation would have it, STAGE FRIGHT is nevertheless marred by Alfred Hitchcock's decision to break one of his cardinal rules for suspense films: always let the audience know more than the characters on the screen know. When it's revealed late in the film that an early flashback scene was the fabrication of an unreliable narrator, it doesn't play so much as a plot twist as it does a copout on the level of a dream ending. But it's an enjoyable ride up to that point. The tale of a young actress (Jane Wyman) who tries to protect and conceal an actor (Richard Todd) suspected of murder, the film is engrossing and contains plenty of the director's trademark black humor. The characters may not be typical "Hitchcock types," but they're a colorful and endearing lot. One of the more enjoyable mid-level Hitchcocks. ½ - JL

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