28 January 2014 | drednm
Mabel Poulton and Gerald du Maurier
Interesting Brit talkie starring Gerald du Maurier as a prison escapee. The film is also notable as the beginning of the end of Mabel Poulton's career. She gets second billing after 2 talkie bombs in 1929. But her billing is misleading as the billing is based on order of appearance. While she is perfectly fine as "Girl of the Town," it's obvious that her speaking voice undermines her silent-screen image, especially as Tessa in The Constant Nymph. She never had another leading role in a feature.
Poulton aside, what we get is the perfect Hitchcock theme sans Hitchcock. After an extended British hunt scene showing du Maurier as a sensitive soul (he feels sorry for the fox because he himself had escaped the Germans in the war), we see him accosted by Poulton in Hyde Park. Nothing happens but a cop (Ian Hunter) tries to arrest her for soliciting. Du Maurier intervenes and strikes the cop. He falls, hits his head on a wall and dies. Du Maurier is sentenced to 5 years. He escapes and the rest of the film follows his flight across the moors and the people he meets.
Du Maurier was a legendary actor of his time, knighted in 1922, and totally forgotten now. He made only 10 films and this was his talkie debut. So while the film marks a solid starring talkie debut for du Maurier, it also signals the complete collapse of Mabel Poulton's film career (she having been one of England's biggest silent stars).
Also in the cast are Edna Best, Madeleine Carroll, Nigel Bruce, Gordon Harker, Austin Trevor, Marie Ney, Jean Cadell, and Felix Aylmer.