Watch Blackmail

"Hold everything till you've heard this one!"
  • NR
  • 1929
  • 1 hr 24 min
  • 6.9  (11,849)

Set in 1920s London, Blackmail tells the story of Alice White, a beautiful young woman who is dating Frank Webber, a Scotland Yard detective. As the film begins, Alice and Frank have gone out for the evening, but Alice becomes bored and restless and decides to hit up a local restaurant on her own. There she meets a handsome artist named Crewe, who takes her back to his studio to look at his paintings. Once there, however, Crewe makes unwanted sexual advances toward Alice, and she reacts by attacking him with a knife. In the ensuing struggle, Crewe is killed, and Alice runs back to Frank for help.

As Frank begins investigating the case, he realizes that Alice is in danger of being implicated in the murder. He tries to cover up her involvement, but eventually the evidence becomes too much to ignore, and Alice is forced to confess to the crime. With Alice facing the possibility of the death penalty, Frank must race against time to uncover the truth and clear her name.

What follows is a tense and twist-filled thriller, as Frank delves deeper into the case and uncovers the shocking secrets that Crewe was hiding. Along the way, he encounters a host of colorful characters, from Alice's suspicious father to Crewe's jealous girlfriend to a seedy blackmailer who threatens to expose Frank's own past transgressions.

With its exploration of themes like sexual desire, betrayal, and the corrupting influence of power, Blackmail is a groundbreaking film that represents an early example of British film noir. Directed by legendary filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, it features many of the hallmarks that would come to define his later work, including inventive camera angles, intense suspense, and a willingness to take risks and push boundaries.

Leading the cast is Anny Ondra, who brings an alluring mix of innocence and danger to her portrayal of Alice. Though she was a popular actress in her native Czechoslovakia, Blackmail marked her first major English-language role, and her performance is both captivating and convincing. John Longden, meanwhile, is equally compelling as Frank, bringing a world-weary gravitas to the role that makes him a perfect foil for Ondra's vulnerable beauty.

Rounding out the cast is Sara Allgood, who plays Alice's concerned mother. Though she has a smaller role than Ondra or Longden, she still manages to stand out with her quiet dignity and maternal warmth.

In addition to its strong performances, Blackmail is also notable for its technical innovations. Hitchcock was always known for his creative use of camerawork, and this film is no exception. He experiments with unusual angles and perspectives, such as the famous shot of a screaming Ondra with the needle of a gramophone in the foreground. He also makes effective use of sound, with the climactic chase sequence being entirely silent save for the sound of footsteps and breathing.

Overall, Blackmail is a masterpiece of suspense and drama that continues to captivate audiences almost a century after its initial release. It showcases Hitchcock's prodigious talents as a filmmaker at their most raw and unfiltered, and stands as a testament to the enduring power of cinematic art.

Blackmail is a 1929 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 24 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.9.

Where to Watch Blackmail
Blackmail is available to watch free on Plex, Tubi TV and Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Google Play. Some platforms allow you to rent Blackmail for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 24 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.9  (11,849)