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Stage Fright (1950)

Mystery | 110 minutes
3,22 193 votes

Genre: Mystery / Thriller

Duration: 110 minuten

Alternative title: Misdaad achter het Voetlicht

Country: United Kingdom

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

Stars: Jane Wyman, Marlene Dietrich and Michael Wilding

IMDb score: 7,0 (16.299)

Releasedate: 23 February 1950

Stage Fright plot

"Love held its breath as sudden terror held the stage!"

Jonathan Cooper is wanted by the police on suspicion of the murder of his girlfriend's husband. His girlfriend Eve Gill offers him shelter. He tells her that his girlfriend, actress Charlotte Inwood, is the real culprit. Eve decides to investigate the matter herself. When she meets the detective who is also investigating the case, she falls in love.

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Full Cast & Crew

Actors and actresses

Charlotte Inwood

Det. Insp. Wilfried 'Ordinary' Smith

Jonathan Cooper

Commodore Gill

Inspector Byard

Nellie Goode

Mr. Fortesque

Freddie Williams

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avatar van Don Homer

Don Homer

  • 510 messages
  • 1297 votes

You can stand just so much of detectives! After all, they are only policemen with smaller feet!

Mediocre mystery from Hitchcock in which Eve (Jane Wyman) tries to get her boyfriend Jonathan (Richard Todd) out of the hands of the police after Charlotte's (Marlene Ditrich) husband is murdered. Meanwhile, despite possible involvement in the murder, Charlotte just seems to continue her glamorous life as if nothing happened.

Stage fright (1950) was until Frenzy (1972) Hitch's last film in London. Hitch calls this film an important study of the acting profession. Hence the name I think. There is also a lot of lying in the film, stories are made up and Marlene Ditrich puts down a strong facade (unfortunately, this mask is not taken off).

Hitchcock himself has a nice cameo as a surprised passerby. Behind the scenes he wrestled with Jane Wyman who, against Hitchcock's wishes, made herself more beautiful for certain scenes because she was so impressed by Ditrich's glamorous appearance. The latter later sneered at Wyman: "[...]She looks too much like a victim to play a heroine, and God knows she couldn't play a woman of mystery, that was my part. Miss Wyman looks like a mystery nobody has bothered to solve." (IMDb trivia). To me, it seems that this great Hollywood star also played very much himself in this film. She was also treated like a diva behind the scenes by Hitch.

With the exception of Ditrich, the actors were not very special. The supporting role for Herman van Veen (as Eve's father) was!

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avatar van mrklm


  • 8673 messages
  • 8433 votes

Opinion is sharply divided over this quirky but entertaining Hitchcock mystery. Hitchcock acknowledged that the lie flashback at the beginning of the film was his biggest mistake since the explosion in Sabotage (1936), but it fits into a story rife with lies and cheating. Jane Wyman, who recently won an Oscar for Johnny Belinda, can handle her light-hearted role as the actress who pretends to be a maid to win the trust of the glamorous nightclub singer Charlotte Inwood [Marlene Dietrich] in the hopes of finding evidence that she and not prime suspects Jonathan Cooper [Richard Todd] is responsible for a murder. This is not a traditional Hitchcock thriller - the presence of Alastair Sim and Joyce "Lovely Ducks" Grenfell emphasizes the comedic side - and the screenplay is unbalanced in tone, but all in all this is still very entertaining.

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avatar van Filmkriebel


  • 9076 messages
  • 4193 votes

The further it progressed the better it got. And in the end, with the lit eyes of two characters in a very tense dialogue, the genius Hitchcock comes to the fore. I must say that the plot construction also worked very effectively. A certain Cooper confesses to a friend, Eve, that his mistress, a popular singer, (Dietrich) killed her husband. This is told in a flashback. He goes into hiding, but the amorous helpful girl (who is taking acting lessons... not unimportant!) investigates what happened herself to help and takes the place of the maid to eavesdrop. In the meantime she also gets to know a detective who could come in handy.

Stage Fright starts a bit slow like in many Hitchcock movies, needed to put all the pawns in their place. The cute but also naive acting student, the charming detective, the narcissistic diva, the hunted friend, the clever father... These are the characters that provide this black-and-white film with the necessary color. Certainly not the best Hitchcock to "suspense" but is clever enough to see a remake. Between 3 and 3.5*

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