Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Monday, June 23, 2008

NUMBER SEVENTEEN


NUMBER SEVENTEEN (1932). Director: Alfred Hitchcock.

An assortment of people (played by a no-name cast), including jewel thieves, a mute woman, a police inspector and so on, wind up violently commingling at the title address, in this rather oddball Hitchcock feature which is busy but initially somewhat boring, despite some interesting Hitchcock touches. The trouble is that the story is weak and confusing. However, the second half picks up as one man commandeers a crowded bus and races in pursuit of a train even as several characters chase each other all over the train. The models are unconvincing, but by this time the picture moves at a breakneck pace. The trouble is, you don't really care about the characters or what's going on. Still, anything directed by Hitchcock is not without some interest. Leon M. Lion is good as a tramp who wanders into the house and gets involved in all the action, and the rest of the cast is professional as well. Anne Grey is the nominal heroine.

Verdict: No classic but fun at times. **1/2.

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