Alfred Hitchcock's Blackmail

Alloy Orchestra perform
$15 (CFI members $12)
Monday, July 19, 7:15
Alloy Orchestra, whom Roger Ebert declared "the best in the world at accompanying silent films," offer a live performance of their original score for Alfred Hitchcock's classic thriller Blackmail with a 35mm archive print from the British Film Institute.

Made at the end of the silent era, Blackmail was finished as a silent movie when director Alfred Hitchcock was asked to rework it as a talkie. Released in 1929, it became famous as the first British sound film, and the completed silent version fell into obscurity, to be rediscovered and restored only in recent years. Watching the original version of Blackmail today confirms that what would be known as Hitchcock's first sound film was also his last and best silent film.

The taut, suspenseful story focuses on a young London woman who is dating a Scotland Yard detective. Her flirtation and fateful encounter with a shady artist embroils her in a murder and the boyfriend in a blackmail scheme. Hitchcock's tenth feature as director, and only his second thriller, Blackmail set a template for the master's future yarns, from malleable guilt to a climactic chase through the British Museum. The film stars Anny Ondra, John Longden and Cyril Ritchard, and Hitchcock himself adapted the story from a play by Charles Bennett, who would become a close writing collaborator on his later British classics. Program approximately 90 min.

Alloy's members are Ken Winokur, Terry Donohue and Roger Miller, and their instruments include keyboards, accordion, clarinet, musical saw and their legendary "rack of junk." An unusual combination of found percussion and state-of-the-art electronics gives the Orchestra the ability to create any sound imaginable. Based in Boston, and working for 20 years, they have performed at festivals and film centers around the world, including the Telluride Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Louvre.

Just prior to the Rafael show, Alloy Orchestra are featured (along with other musical greats in the field of film accompaniment) at the 15th annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival, taking place at the historic Castro Theatre from July 15 through 18. Visit for shows or call 415-777-4908 for Festival ticketing information.

Visit Alloy Orchestra's Official Website
Playing at the Rafael Film Center
Jul 19 2010
Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center
1118 Fourth Street, San Rafael CA 94901
T 415 454 1222 E