Silent Sunday: The Ring (1927)

I wasn’t going to do Silent Sunday this week, what with it being Christmas and all, but changed my mind… not a Christmas-y film (if the VCR still worked I could’ve watched my tape of Kino’s Christmas Past shorts, but I didn’t want to subject myself to that again anyway), but another title I can cross off the Rosenbaum list. This is apparently unique in the Hitchcock canon, by virtue of it being his one and only original screenplay, and the choice of subject matter is accordingly an interesting one, i.e. a love triangle set in the world of boxing. As this review notes, this isn’t exactly Raging Bull we’re dealing with (is that necessarily a bad thing?), and Hitch seems less interested in the actual fighting than the surrounding atmosphere (an impression confirmed by an interview with him I read before writing this). Not much of a story: Jack is a boxer in a carnival, Mabel is his girlfriend selling tickets to his fights, and Bob is the Australian heavyweight champion who bests him. Out of a job, Jack marries Mabel and enters the world of real boxing in which Bob moves, and, well, she decides Bob’s more interesting. Complications, etc. No real prizes for guessing that Jack will work his way up the ladder to a showdown with the wonder from down under. Still, though this is early Hitchcock, there’s few signs of inexperience; as with Downhill, we can see him practising the lesson he learned about minimising intertitles and telling the story visually. I’m not sure about some of the comic elements of the story (particularly during the wedding scene), not sure how well they worked, and on the whole it’s hard to deny that The Ring is relatively minor Hitchcock; still wondering what led Rosenbaum to put it on his top 1000 list. Still, perfectly passable viewing.

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