Review: Easy Virtue (1928)

Virtue is not something I claim to have!

Scenario By: Eliot Stannard
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock

Flat as a door nail is not a phrase one wants associated with their film. It’s definitely not a turn of phrase that comes to mind when discussing the well known works of Sir Alfred Hitchcock. As I struggled through Easy Virtue I was struck by how incredibly flat the production was. It was as if Sir Hitchcock placed a camera in the room, left said room, and didn’t bother to tell any of the actors what to do. The end result was a film that had no life to it and actors who stared at the camera with emotionless gazes that drained the life out of me as a viewer.

Had Sir Hitchcock made a film where the goal was for his actors to suck the life out of my being, now that I would have loved. Instead, Sir Hitchcock has produced not so much a motion picture in Easy Virtue as a stage play gone incredibly array. The actors know their parts, but they don’t bother to bring energy to those parts. There were times when the actors could have been replaced with dead fish and the film would have maintained the same energy level.

The sets, well, they were sets I guess. They were constructed, they were made to look a certain way and they managed to look that way. That’s not a positive in any way, but it’s the only sort of positive that I can think of as far as Easy Virtue is concerned. When there’s not a single positive to a film that’s not a good sign. When the film is so stagnant and inert that there are no terrible negatives either that’s a really bad sign.

Nothing is worse than a film that rests safely in the middle. It takes no chances so it is neither a great success nor a glorious failure. Easy Virtue is content with being a safe and boring picture that lacks any punch or verve. That’s most certainly not something I expect from a Sir Hitchcock picture. Yet, as has become all too common in Sir Hitchcock’s silent era films, Easy Virtue ended up being a middling picture of nothingness.

With no positives and no negatives, I’m left with very little to say about Easy Virtue. It is another picture that proves Sir Alfred Hitchcock was a fallible director throughout his career. There’s no reason for me to recommend or warn people away from Easy Virtue. Among Sir Hitchcock’s extensive oeuvre Easy Virtue is a boring and heartless film. There are no features that make Easy Virtue a film worth seeking out, it’s simply a film that has nothing to say or impart. Don’t waste your time on Easy Virtue, no matter how much you love Sir Hitchcock as a director.




4 responses to “Review: Easy Virtue (1928)

  1. I agree that this as a passe and dull effort. The only things that made it stand out for me was the telephone scene and the final line in the film. Otherwise, another early Hitchcock that proves completely underwhelming.

  2. That is a sad trend with all the early Hitchcock I have been exploring. There have been a couple of great ones, and a few good ones, but for the most part his early work was so dull and lifeless.

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