Number Seventeen

931. NUMBER SEVENTEEN (1932-England). Directed by ALFRED HITCHCOCK. A dead body in a deÂserted house, found with handcuffs and a gun in its pocket, suddenly disappears. That’s just the beginning of this early Hitchcock opus, in which the master pulls out all the stops. Who are all those strange people who meet in the deserted house at midnight? Shots in the dark, clutching hands, a diamond necklace in the W.C. Strange goings on. eh what? Add a strange cockney, a deaf and dumb woman who speaks, a startling revelaÂtion or two, and you have the makings of a fine thriller. The film is shot entirely at night, mostly in that strange empty house with the eerie spiral staircase. But even stranger, after chilling your psyche and bewildering your intellect for most of the film, Hitchcock does a complete about face with a go-for-broke fistfight and an exciting railroad chase through the night, climaxing in a smashing crackup. The sudden switch to an action conclusion after a cerebral beginning is most satisfying. The sped-up camera for the fights and obvious models of trains roaring through the night are shortcomings indeed, but Hitchcock was learning the technique for the type of film he would perfect in “The Lady Vanishes” six years later. A fine example of Sir Alfred’s clutching- hand genre. 64 minutes. Hitchcock