The number 13 may be unlucky to some but it definitely isn’t to Hitchcock. His thirteenth film Rich and Strange is a film that is summed up by its title, rich in character and style; strange in sense of story.

WHAT HAPPENED?

The film begins with Fred (Henry Kendall) and Emily (Joan Barry) are a married couple who although in love have ambitions to travel which cannot be afforded as their dead end jobs barely give them enough to survive. However when Fred is given some money by his uncle (very similar to the way the lead gets money in Downhill i.e overly convenient) they set out to travel the world; namely towards the Far East.

So they travel, however upon a cruise ship in the Far East they each find that they have fallen in love with someone else, Fred with a beautiful Princess and Emily with the suave Commander Gordon. This leads to obvious tension as they both have affairs as well as lots of twists and turns, ending with a last 15 minutes that are impossible to describe with any other word than ridiculous.

THE GOOD

The film is very well put together with moments of great physical comedy splattered throughout making the film a true joy to watch. There are moments where Hitchcock shows how ahead of the time he was such as jump cuts of the couple happy faces as they explore Paris; this was obviously done for budgetary reasons as to shoot in Paris was probably too expensive but it works brilliantly and is a technique many directors use in modern film.

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The best moments are the pure Hitchcockian moments in the film. The voyeurism on show when Fred and the Princess begin their affair is astounding in terms of how uncomfortable the viewer gets (yet still doesn’t want to look away). The scene is really done well with the shots of the Princess’s feet being the key.

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One shot in the film is truly wonderful it is a shot of a mirror as the Princess does her make-up. Emily enters behind and we see each of their reactions perfectly; making some great tension because we also know that Fred is in the room out of Emily’s sight.

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THE BAD

The film is generally quite good. There are a few flaws namely the character of the old maid a gossipy woman who interacts with the characters on several occasions but has no real point other than to create comedy – which she doesn’t because she’s not funny.

 

Also the last 15 minutes of the film literally come from nowhere and are so unexpected that I cannot decide whether that is a good or bad thing. They are completely in contrast to the rest of the film and it was just so odd that I struggle to describe without giving spoilers; I will say this though – pirates are involved?

Crazy right?

CAMEO O’CLOCK

Hitchcock does not make a cameo in the film.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

I thought this film was one of the best I have seen yet; although it does not get the critical acclaim as some of the films before it (probably because its not the out and out thriller people expect from Hitchcock) I believe it to be one of the best so far; there is lots of tension built up between the characters and the pacing is near perfect.

4 Hitchs.

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