Sunday 19 March, 2023


Music by The James Whale Orchestra | Grote zaal | 20:15

Blackmail | Alfred Hitchcock | United Kingdom, 1929

In Hitchcock’s first talking production (and final silent film) a young woman finds herself being blackmailed after killing a man in self-defence. Blackmail was made ten years before Hitchcock broke through in America with The 39 Steps, after which producer David O Selznick persuaded the director to move to Hollywood. It displays many of the director’s stylistic elements and themes with which he would become associated – a fascination with male sexual aggression and female vulnerability, and the climax at the British Library is the first of Hitchcock’s characteristic ambitious set pieces featuring landmark locations.

James Whale

Music by The James Whale Orchestra
The soundtrack is highly eclectic, moving rapidly between classic, contemporary, 1920’s popular music and film noir jazz styles to track the frequent plot twists and turns for which Hitchcock was famous. There are many clear references to the composer Bernard Herrmann, (Psycho, Vertigo, North by Northwest) and the music often makes darkly humorous diversions into well-known classical music in a manner used by numerous composers ranging from Max Steiner to Luciano Berio. Scored for flute, clarinet, violin, bandoneon, cello, bass, and percussion - the live ensemble is combined with produced samples and effects.