Week seven of my Hitchcock challenge brings to me a film titles The Farmer’s Wife, as with every over film I knew nothing about this film before going in so was rather surprised to find out it was an out and out comedy… not something Hitchcock is famed for doing well.

 

WHAT HAPPENED?

The story is very simple. There is a farmer, Mr. Sweetland (played by Jameson Thomas) is rich and handsome so when his wife dies, he decides to go in hunt of a new wife by proposing in ridiculous fashion to local neighbourhood women who are of-course shocked by such. He does so with the help of his farm-hand (Gordon Harker) and his maid (Lillian Hall-Davis) – both of whom appeared in Hitchcock’s earlier film The Ring. When he has been rejected by everyone the farmer gives up hope until there is a dramatic twist ending with is thoroughly entertaining.

 

THE GOOD

At times the film was hilarious, some of the comedy is done brilliantly and performed in such a way it is hard not to laugh. Examples include some very dry wit in perhaps the best sequence of the film when Mr. Sweetland is discussing his options for a bride, as he thinks about each woman she magicallly appears in the chair before him and he looks at her whilst discussing her. Insulting them in a series of comedic insults for example a rather large woman he refers to as ‘I don’t like pillowy women’ which I for some reason found hilarious.

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There is also a fair bit of comedy as Mr. Sweetland proposes to each of them and is rejected leading to a ridiculous ending scene in which all tangents are brought together fantastically.

All this great comedy is kept together by a sense of Hitchcockianness, the women appearing in the chair as previously discussed is done using the same technique as the man’s face in the record player in Downhill, only in this film it seems to have much more purpose as if Hitchcock is beginning to perfect the art of what works when.

There is also the Hitchcockian point-of-view shots which have been seen before but are again used with real purpose for the first time, albeit just to show Mr. Sweetlands anger as he crosses the ladies names off a list.

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THE BAD

Alongside all the good sides of the film there is a fair share of bad. As the general narrative is rather short something else was needed to fill the time and make this film feature length. That comes from a subplot (which has no real plot) about the Farmhand Mr. Ash. This subplot is awful, tedious and uninteresting; the jokes are generally unfunny for instance he is unhappy in wearing a smart shirt – hilarious…

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The performance of Mr. Ash is also rather bad, as discussed he also appears in The Ring and he is just as poor in that. This subplot is unneeded and takes up far too much screen time!

There is also a lot of title cards; however these have a purpose as they are the main form of getting the jokes to the audience. Reading the jokes and seeing the characters react to them was interesting however I think this film would really have benefited if it could have been in sound.

 

CAMEO O’CLOCK

Hitchcock does not make his trade-mark cameo in this film.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Farmers Wife is a very interesting and enjoyable film, it is by far the most comedic film I have watched in this challenge and for the most part I enjoyed it, finding the characters intriguing and the jokes funny, however as this challenge is about Hitchcock who is known for suspense and tension, I cannot give this film the four Hitch’s I wanted to as it has no suspense and tension (not that’s its needed) meaning its hard to say it’s a Hitchcock film, therefore I award it with 3 Hitchcock’s.

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