Week of March 30, 2005

Blackmail. (Not Rated) For over a decade, the three musicians comprising the Alloy Orchestra have written scores for and accompanied outstanding silent films. Playing an array of instruments from the clarinet to the saw, from the banjo to "junk percussion," from electronic synthesizers to their "rack of junk" producing unique sound effects, Alloy animates classic works. And Hitchcock's 1929 Blackmail, adapted from Charles Bennett's play, provides a great showcase with a swift 76 minutes. In it, Hitchcock shows his nascent directorial expertise as he pursues characteristic themes. After a woman defending herself from rape kills her attacker, her shame gives a blackmailer power as she lies to her Scotland Yard boyfriend. An amusing cameo by Hitchcock, a chase into the British Museum and a shadow-world (thematically and literally) makes Blackmail a compelling, dark tale. It doesn't get any better than this. Screens at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Sunday, April 3, in the Moore Auditorium on the campus of Webster University, 470 East Lockwood Avenue, Webster Groves. Call 314-968-7487 for more information. (Diane Carson) WFS

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