|Anny Ondráková (Anny Ondra). From Národní filmový archiv, Praha.|
David Robinson: "Blackmail was begun as a silent film, but partway through production the company decided to make a section with sound. Hitchcock responded by enthusiastically using sound for almost the entire picture, which was eventually released in both silent and sound versions. Anny Ondra had previously worked successfully with Hitchcock on The Manxman, but now her marked accent presented a problem, as this sound test shows. Hitchcock’s solution – in an era before post-synching – was to have the English actress Joan Barry record the lines as Ondra mouthed them. The test exposes Hitchcock’s notorious technique of testing actresses with challenging and in this case somewhat suggestive dialogue." – David Robinson (The GCM Catalog)
AA: This Anny Ondra sound test was screened several times during the festival. Anny Ondra had already starred for Hitchcock in a soulful performance in The Manxman. In this sound test Hitchcock is in his practical joker mode, doing his best to chide, tease and provoke Anny Ondra, who reacts with a mixture of embarrassment and fun. In less than a minute we get a sense of something characteristic of the spirit and the sense of humour of both Hitch and Anny.