Dir. Alfred Hitchcock
1927 | Black & White | 80min | Silent
Cast: Ivor Novello, Ben Webster, Robin Irvine
*Available for booking from November 2012 as silent DCP*
Novello again, here performing his own stage play, plays (somewhat implausibly at 34) model school student Roddy, falsely accused of getting a young woman pregnant. Expelled and disgraced, Roddy goes into self-imposed exile, reduced to renting himself out as a companion to lonely, wealthy women before winding up destitute and ill in Marseilles. Unusually dark for its day, Downhill is the first pure example of Hitchcock's much-revisited 'wrong man' plot, although it lacks the element of pursuit that drives more familiar examples like 1935's The 39 Steps. Fascinating for the way it fetishises Novello's suffering, and with some exceptional compositions (a sickly green tint when a delirious Roddy voyages home prefigures the much later Vertigo), Downhill is one of Hitchcock's most unfairly neglected works.
A restoration by the BFI National Archive in association with ITV Studios Global Entertainment.
Available on: DCP
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