Alfred Hitchcock was born in the far east of London, in Leytonstone. So far east in fact, that it was Essex then, I think. But Hitch is still one of London’s most famous film directors, and it is fitting that one of his most famous films to be both set and filmed in the capital will be screening in his home borough of Waltham Forest this summer. The Barbican are showing the silent version of Blackmail, with Neil Brand’s tremendous score played by the Forest Philharmonic, at the Assembly Hall in Walthamstow, London E17. Be there or find yourself kicking your heels in a West End Lyon’s Corner House, rejected and alone.
Blackmail is a classic crime thriller, laden with Hitchcock’s signature suspense tricks, about a nice young girl (Anny Ondra) who commits a violent act one night in dire circumstances, and has to live with the consequences. Famously shot as both a silent and sound film, Blackmail reveals Hitchcock as a confident director revelling in the themes of murder and guilt that would become his home turf. In classic Hitchcock style, Blackmail also climaxes with a setpiece at a famous landmark – one slightly closer to home than Mount Rushmore. Every film fan in London should see this film, and the best way to see it is like this, with an orchestra and Brand’s wonderful music.
Plus, you can make a real night of it, by indulging in one of Hitchcock’s favourite pastimes – eating.
Get there early (from 5.30pm) for some great street food and drink from the Real Food Festival. Hitchcock was notoriously fond of good food and drink and, in keeping with his East London roots, there will be street food trucks including Bell & Brisket (salt beef bagels), Born & Raised (British and East End themed pizzas) as well as Wondering Wine, a vintage Citroen H Van wine bar – particularly fitting as, like many of the characters in his film, Alfred Hitchcock was always partial to a good drink too…
- Blackmail screens at the Walthamstow Assembly Hall on 25 July at 7.30pm. Neil Brand will introduce the screening and Timothy Brock will conduct the Forest Philharmonic. You can book tickets here on the Barbican website.