Reel Classics

Rich And Strange (1931) - Blu-ray Review

Rich And Strange (1931)

“I like being shipwrecked!”

As far as Hitchcock romantic comedies go, well…you probably did not even know one existed! (I did not even know one existed). In fact, the whole idea that Alfred Hitchcock has quite a few comedies credited to his filmography seems more unnerving than any of his class thrillers – though his dark sense of humor is something that is rather well-known nowadays. So, long before his move to Hollywood where he would make classics like Psycho and Vertigo, one of the films where the Master of Suspense’s sick and dark sense of humor would be displayed is in 1931’s Rich and Strange (also known as East of Shanghai) and now thanks to Kino Lorber this REEL CLASSIC can be seen again!

"one of Hitchcock’s more light-hearted films"


Bored with their routine, suburban life, Fred and Emily Hill (Henry Kendall and Joan Barry) long for adventure – for experience – to actually live life! So how do they do that? Well, just their luck, Fred’s uncle gifts them Fred’s inheritance early, so the couple decide to take a cruise around the world. While it seems like a dream come true, this pleasure cruise soon turns into somewhat of a nightmare when the young couple gets farther away from home, the farther apart they become.

If you do not know anything about the film, which I am guessing many do not, you would think from the film’s opening minutes that you are watching a silent film. And though Hitchcock did, in fact, make a number of silents films, spoiler alert: this film is not one of them. But it being one of Hitchcock’s first films with sound, much of the picture is reminiscent of silents pictures with scene captions and even some exaggerating acting at times. In fact, the director’s combination of silent picture elements with the new sound technology is what gives this film much of its charm and uniqueness. While the scene captions could be seen as something unnecessary or replaceable with more dialogue, they actually serve as funny prefaces for anytime there is a subsequent “daring journey,” even if that journey is just a drunken walk across a busy lobby.Rich And Strange (1931)

Though it is one of Hitchcock’s more light-hearted films, his signature style as seen in his later films can already been seen in early films like Rich and Strange. The composition and intention of his shots are absolutely stunning and innovative (for the time) – here, you can see the eye of the master starting to really take shape. While it is probably far from his best work, it is still very interesting to see pre-Hollywood Hitchcock at work. The film, overall, is fun and very charming. But of course, in true Hitchcock fashion, it is not confined to the romantic-comedy genre, and rather ends up being somewhat of a tragic story and could also be considered a kind of commentary on the trials and tribulations of married life. And thanks to Kino Lorber and Studio Canal, you can now see this hidden Hitchcock gem in a nice, new 2K restoration at home!

4/5 stars

Rich And Strange (1931)

Blu-ray Details

Rich and Strange (East of Shanghai (1931)

Home Video Distributor: Kino Lorber
Available on Blu-ray
- January 4, 2022
Screen Formats: 1.20:1
Subtitles
: None
Audio:
2.0 mono track
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Rich and Strange, also known as East of Shanghai, is the splendid seafaring comedy from legendary director Alfred Hitchcock’s early years in the British film industry. Fred Hill (Henry Kendall) and his wife Emily (Joan Barry) lead a boring existence in the London suburbs. When the Hills come into an inheritance from a wealthy uncle, Fred quits his mundane job and they embark on a world cruise to get a taste of the high life. But all does not go as planned as the couple’s voyage becomes fraught with treacherous romantic duplicities. Money does not buy happiness when Hitchcock steers the ship! A visually dazzling and slyly hilarious portrait of a marriage in crisis, Rich and Strange is a one-of-a-kind classic from the Master of Suspense!

Video:

Taking into consideration the age of the film (over 90 years old already!), the transfer is pretty good. There are many noticeable instances of small tears, streaks, and dirt that pop up periodically throughout the film, but overall, they are quite minimal. Also, the contrast of the black and white is acceptable, but inconsistent, and at times, there is a noticeable green tint. But even with all of that said, there is no doubt that with this new, higher definition of the transfer, that is the best the film as ever looked, and nonetheless appreciated.

Audio:

Again…the age of the film seems to be a bit of a problem. The audio is okay, but not the best. Most of the time the sound seems to be a bit muffled, with a low buzzing consistent throughout the picture. Also, with the 2.0 mono soundtrack, the dialogue and the background sounds of cars, street noises, and more seem to blur together at many points. I would say, make sure to have the subtitles on during this viewing.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Audio Commentary by Film Historian Troy Howarth

Special Features:

Both the commentary and the special features included on the disc are wonderfully rich. Not only is there in-depth analysis about this film, but also some film history content that will make you appreciate the film and the legendary filmmaker even more!

 

  • Special Features
  • Hitchcock/Truffaut: Icon Interviews Icon (Audio)
  • Introduction by Noël Simsolo
  • Trailers

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 4/5 stars
  Video  3/5 stars
  Audio 2/5 stars
  Extras 3/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

3/5 stars


Film Details

Rich And Strange (1931)

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
83 mins
Director
: Alfred Hitchcock
Writer:
Alfred Hitchcock
Cast:
Henry Kendall; Joan Barry; Percy Marmont
Genre
: Romance | Classic
Tagline:
East of Shanghai.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Hello Fred. I think you'll like me in this dress when it's done. Oh, have you broken your umbrella?"
Theatrical Distributor:
Powers Pictures Inc.
Official Site:
Release Date:
May 10, 2019
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
June 13, 1932.
Synopsis: Fred Hill (Henry Kendall) and his wife Emily (Joan Barry) lead a boring existence in the London suburbs. When the Hills come into an inheritance from a wealthy uncle, Fred quits his mundane job and they embark on a world cruise to get a taste of the high life. But all does not go as planned as the couple's voyage becomes fraught with treacherous romantic duplicities.

Art

Rich And Strange (1931)

 

Movie Reviews

Our Tweets

 

You are here: Home Home Video Reel Classics Rich And Strange (1931) - Blu-ray Review