Easy Virtue Stats:
Noel Coward writes play 1925
Alfred Hitchcock makes silent film in 1928
Idiots make bad film in 2008
The glib charm of Noel Coward’s social comedy must come through better on stage, since the 2008 film blew it. The latest film version with Kristin Scott Thomas, Colin Firth, and Jessica Biel had a chance at capturing that charm, but something went wrong. Alfred Hitchcock 1928 film does them one better. Hitchcock’s silent film obviously loses the clever dialogue and, instead of a comedy, the film becomes a sentimental melodrama, albeit with a rather emancipated heroine. Yet the framing of the story in a courthouse, the transitions, the theatrical acting and the mooody orchestra pieces all make for a fun watch.
The film might be hard to find, but amazingly there is a website that has 1,000 film stills telling the story scene by scene. I started to wonder halfway through if silent films weren’t a perfect opportunity for audience creativity. Like Mystery Science Theater, you could create the words to the movie…