Dir: Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: Henry Kendall and Joan Barry
A married couple find their relationship strained to breaking point after receiving an unexpected inheritance
Released during Hitchcock’s meagre period between The Lodger (1927) and his breakthrough hits The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) and The 39 Steps (1935) (qv), Rich and Strange was a consummate failure at both the British and US box office. The film’s lack of commercial and critical success is often attributed to the fact that the story is quite simple with the lack of true characterisation and copious use of title cards giving it the feel of a ‘silent’. It was released in the US under the title East of Shanghai and had a reduced running time of 83 minutes. In the film’s opening, Henry Kendall has a rather bad journey home on the Underground, achieved with a mix of footage shot on location and in the studio. The escalators are real as is the platform itself, which is clearly the southbound Bakerloo Line platform at Waterloo, all of which is footage re-used from the 1928 film Underground (qv). Close-ups of the passengers, though, appear to be in the studio and if you look closely at the signs in the background of one shot the image is actually reversed for some reason! The train interior scenes were also a set, as was the scene at the ticket barriers of a ‘London’ terminus station. However, a handful of shots depicting real trains at a port do feature and this was filmed at Folkestone Harbour. The film was adapted by Hitchcock, his wife Alma Reville, and Val Valentine from a novel by Dale Collins.