Stage Fright is a Hitchcock film in which he returns once more to the story of the framed man. It is an interesting film with many comic touches and some great performances.

WHAT HAPPENED?
Famous actress Charlotte Inwood (Marlene Dietrich) has murdered her husband and frames her lover Jonathan Cooper (Richard Todd) for the murder. Cooper goes on the run with a young girl who is in love with him, Eve Gill (Jane Wyman). Eve thus sets out on a mission to clear his name by going undercover as Inwood’s maid, however all is not what it seems and Eve soons finds she does not love Cooper as she thought but actually a nice detective inspector. Everything is lying to everyone leaving the final 15 minutes for all the truths and twists to come out.

THE GOOD

The story is extremely intriguing as the plot is always twisting and turning with new characters contributing something, which ultimately changes everything for everyone.

There is a lot of tension in the picture that is built up perfectly making it is clear to see why Hitch is known as the master of suspense as he uses symbology such as bloodstained dress to tell the story in a very visual fashion.

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There are several moments of pure comedy in this film which lighten the tone for example Marlene Dietrich’s character forgetting the name of her maid or a man trying to win a doll at a fairground. 

The performances of all the actors particularly the two female leads are very good with Marlene Dietrich stealing the show as the strange, haunted actress.

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THE BAD

The film is generally good with the only real problem being that it gets a little repetitive at points; as there are several scenes that simply show a character listening to another character through a door.  This although interesting first time becomes a little tedious as it seems to be the only way in which characters can discover new information.

 

There is also something about this film that will not allow it to be seen as one of Hitchcock’s best; although it is difficult to figure out just what this is considering technically it is near perfect.

CAMEO O’CLOCK
Hitchcock makes a rather obvious cameo walking down the street and giving Jane Wyman a queer look.

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FINAL THOUGHTS

Stage Fright is a good Hitchcock film in terms of tension, narrative and performance however there seems to be something magical missing that means it can only be given four Hitchs.

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