In 1928 Alfred Hitchcock launched the film Easy virtue (happy life), adaptation of the homonymous play by Noël Coward, originally released in 1924. This film belongs to the first part of the director's filmography, before his well-known period in English. So, the film was restored in 2012 as part of the British Film Institute's project, "Save The Hitchcock 9", where it was considered to save all possible silent films from the director. In 2008, 80 years after this tape, a remake of the play was also made, although it was not as successful. This film was originally released on March 5, 1928 in the United Kingdom.
Isabel Jeans (Larita Filton)
Franklin Dyall (Aubrey Filton)
Eric Bransby Williams (Claude Robson)
Ian Hunter (Mr. Greene)
Robin Irvine (John Whittaker)
Duration: 79 min
Parents: United Kingdom
Address: Alfred Hitchcock
Script: Eliot Stannard
Photography: Claude McDonnell
Easy virtue (happy life) it is one of the least viewed films on the silent stage Alfred Hitchcock; but it contains anthological strings that demonstrate that even then his command of cinematographic language was very high. Produced in 1927. According to a work by Noël Coward, Hitchcock tells the story of a woman who is a victim of her bad reputation. Fame that comes from divorcing her husband and because an artist commits suicide because of his love for her. (FILMIN)
Where you can see the movie
Meeting again with the beginning of Alfred Hitchcock allows the viewer to know the evolution in the way of conceiving cinematic language in his work. With Easy virtue (happy life) his first films are reached, his stage is silent, with a drama based on the homonymous play by Noël Coward. First, the script clearly and effectively exposes the contradiction of appearance, manners and knowing how to be. Although it was defined almost 100 years ago, this factor of judging the other is still topical. Therefore, history maintains an consumed interest in the different conflicts that are explored. Thus, it weaves a circular structure, where the weight of social fame and its consequences are analyzed, although without exacerbated depth.
In other words, the script follows a very simple structure, which does not end up exploding into a moral or sociological dilemma. Even when the public is used to a more complicated, richer and more complex discourse in Hitchcock's works, it may seem to them to be an excessively light work. Regardless of, it is an entertainment exercise and works as a short piece. Although it is convenient to emphasize that there is a lack of greater passion, surprise and the ability to connect more with some of the characters shown on the screen. Further, there are certain details that leave you intrigued, but that are not used to trigger a narrative ecstasy that would have been a great culmination in the story. Consequently, the script remains in a curious section, but does not seek to become a remarkable and different story.
As it is an entirely silent cinema, the performance of the actors in Easy virtue (happy life) focuses on expressiveness on camera. To start, Isabel Jeans gets into Larita's shoes, the young protagonist of this film. The actress has a magnetism on the screen, which is logical that the image is built from her presence on the stage. Further, he wants to give all that subtle and decaffeinated strength that his character needs. So, Franklin Dyall offers a brief performance, but reaches the point. Therefore, it manages to be the perfect antagonistic prelude. However, not the same with Robin Irvine, who convinces in the last sequences, but remains at an excessively narrow level in the first scenes. Even so, Jeans' grace, in both cases, contrasts with a precise luminosity.
On the other hand, Violet Farebrother will be the other big competitor on the interpretive battlefield. The reality is that the actress knows how to take her character with a certain vigor, but moreover, it shows all that anger and negativity in your facial expression. Along with that, the movement on the stage gains more importance as the film progresses and allows you to fight a synergistic duel with the lead actress. Thanks to this, both offer an organic construction and produce attractive interpretations before the viewer. Lastly, mention Enid Stamp-Taylor and Eric Bransby Williams, who, although at first glance do not have much weight on the screen, their participation is essential. However, the problem arises that they remain on the viewer's retina because of their narrative importance, but not because of their way of acting on the screen. Whereby they cannot step on and become anecdotal.
Even if Easy virtue (happy life) is not marked by the narrative complexity of Hitchcock’s successes and remains in a clearer story, its beginnings in cinema craft can be seen in the technical exhibition. First of all, there is a great care in details and symbolism, offering a virtuosity in the manufacture of the visual preparation of the film, which speaks for itself. And more, It could be seen in the transitions, made with a chained personality, in which they use the viewer's perception as a great ally.. However, the total talent of the director has not yet been seen, but you can appreciate how until then there was an aesthetic scheme with a highly representative creative intelligence. Therefore, that's where you can see the Hitchcock label in this film.
On the other hand, the assembly offers a circular scheme, even if it occurs linearly. Even so, exposes a more than interesting conception of "eternal return". So, the way to maintain an increasing rhythm, which is not exceeded in parsimony, but also does not force dynamism, contributes to an interesting energy balance. In other words, the movement on the stage is adequate to underline the lightness of the film’s own identity. On the other hand, the costumes are exquisite, together with an artistic direction adjusted to the scenarios that offer the grandeur and pomp of the situation. So, highlight the photographic direction, with great frames, especially in the scenes recorded in the Mediterranean lands that the protagonists visit. In short, it is a film with notorious technical authenticity.
Easy virtue (happy life) It is one of Alfred Hitchcock's first films. Despite having a very light and uncomplicated script, the plot looks nice, though sometimes too fast in resolving. So, the performance of its protagonist Isabel Jeans, together with Violet Farebrother, is incredible. On the other hand, at a technical level, Hitchcock impregnates his identity stamp with a care for symbolism, visual ability and good aesthetic justice. The reflection of social hypocrisy and good customs, which become a minor job of the English director.