The only murderer here is the Orchestra Leader…!
I'm currently writing this whilst trying to be on holiday and stop sneaking glances at my work emails. I sort of work in theatre you see. I've probably hinted several times throughout this blog. Essentially I'm a designer of merchandise, brochures, programmes, sales environments and so forth. If you go and see a musical in the west end and buy a magnet or keyring, a souvenir brochure or programme, t-shirt or unusual piece of memorabilia, chances are it's passed by me somewhere along the line.
It's an exciting industry but also stressful. Lot's of big personalities on and off stage to deal with and coordinate. If you've seen Birdman, then you generally get the idea! I do love it so but it will probably be the death of me! Fitting then for a bit of Hitchcock's Stage Fright…
This was a bit of a difficult watch for me, but not because it was a bad film, more so because it genuinely didn't follow the plot lines I was prepared for as I pressed play on the remote. I was expecting this film to be a lot more theatre-centric, more auditorium based and more backstage rumours and whispers. Whilst there was a little of this, predominantly the film was set outside of the theatre environment.
It's another classic Hitchcock set-up. Man goes on the run and a woman is drawn in. But this time, the man takes a back seat, goes into hiding almost completely only for the heroine, Eve (Jane Wyman) to take over the case, albeit with a lot of guidance from her father. The fathers in Hitchcock films always seem to be very wise and caring figures and I often wonder if they are some how representative of Hitchcock's own aspirations for his family life? Patricia being his only daughter and, is often the case, the heroins of his movies, when parents are introduced (thinking back to Saboteur, Champagne or The Paradine Case), being seemingly (although it can't always be proven) single children, I feel there must be some parallels there.
What this film does seem to be very much about, if not theatre, is acting. A murderer acting like an innocent, an innocent (inadvertently) pretending to be a murderer, a high-society father acting like an adventurer and a sea-dog, and a young understudy acting like a housemaid to infiltrate the scene of the crime!
One actress is ultimately pitted against another in this subtle game of cat and mouse as the murderer is poked and prodded into confession and the heroine has to assume multiple identities (her real identity, that of a maid AND of a newspaper reporter) in order to shine a light on all the parts of the puzzle and, without spoiling it too much, the man on the run ultimately follows out of foolishness to his own demise… cut down by the one thing you wouldn't expect to cause harm to anyone in a theatre!!!