7 December 2002 | tiedel
An early downright Hitch.
With their theatre play Down Hill Ivor Novello and Constance Collier produced another lampoon dealing with British boarding school life and the layers of society it depends upon. Ivor Novello attended a school like that himself (Magdalen College, Oxford) and the theme of his play seems authentic in its unlikeliness. A school boy takes the blame for 'getting a girl into trouble' although a friend is to blame. He is expelled not only from school but also from his posh family home. Without his father's backing life quickly goes down hill. After a short career as a Paris gigolo he ends up in the slums of Marseille. Hitchcock filmed Down Hill with his typical mix of 'suspense' and humour throughout the film. The camera zooms into terrified faces, goes down hill on an escalator and an elevator and picks up every shadow and shade on its way. Apparently Hitch had the final scenes tinted in a horribly yellowish green when the protagonist feels ill. Apart from the almost unneeded final act Downhill is a downright Hitch. Its climax is the Paris night club scene where the young and inexperienced taxi dancer and gigolo is awaited by a horny elderly woman who has already compensated his services yet to be rendered.