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on May 16, 2014
I've been watching all of the Hitchcock movies in order (skipping only "Juno and the Paycock") and was surprised to see he'd made a few films that could be described as romantic comedies. However, until "Waltzes from Vienna" (viewable on YouTube as "Strauss' Great Waltz") they are all pretty bad. This one is no exception ... the male lead in particular is a pretty unlikable fellow. But the film does gain a star because, when I was about ready to throw in the towel there was an unexpected plot development that kept me watching to the end. Still, this is for completists only.
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on August 13, 1999
I just saw this video while celebrating Hitchcock's 100th birthday with my own "marathon" viewing of his work here at home. This movie started out one way (predictably), but it turned out to be very intriguing as it progressed; especially with the quasi-Titanic scene(s)! Now I need to pass it on to those friends who really DO think money buys happiness and contentment! Mary in Northville
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on February 21, 2016
Rich and Strange, 1932 film

People in an office work to 6 PM. They take the Underground Railway home. One man returns to his home. [Note the manual sewing machine.] He wants a better life. A letter from a rich uncle offers him money for a better life. They cross the channel on their way to Paris. They see the sights. They visit the ‘Folies Bergère’. Prayer before bedtime. Then to Marseilles for a cruise ship to the Far East. The sun sets, a man talks to Emily. Fred suffers from ‘mal de mer’. There are shipboard activities. Commander Gordon talks to Emily and spends time with her. Fred is still abed. Then Fred recovers, but is hit by a thrown game piece. They see Port Said. Merchants offer goods for sale. Fred and Emily become separated. Then it’s the Suez Canal and Carnival. Fred spends time with the Princess. She says “Cabin 19". Fred dances with another woman.

Emily spends time with Gordon. The voyage comes to an end. And the shipboard romance? They arrive at Singapore. Gordon tells Emily that the Princess is an adventuress, just out for Fred’s money. Emily returns to Fred and talks. Is everybody a sham? Fred refuses t listen; “goodbye”. Gordon sends a “goodbye” letter to Emily. Fred learns the Princess has left him after borrowing £1,000! This left him nearly penniless. They take a cheap boat home. There is a bang, people run around. They are trapped in their cabin! “I’m sorry.” They escape through the porthole. What can they do now? A Chinese ship arrives, men climb aboard to scavenge. Their ship sinks. They are fed. Finally they return home wiser and poorer. Or are they? They bicker again.

This is a comedy of manners where a couple’s dreams of happiness lead to unexpected problems. There is a lesson to this. Many people who win a lottery prize spend it all then go bankrupt. Was “Commander Gordon” teamed with the “Princess” for this scam?
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VINE VOICEon November 27, 2010
Like much of Alfred Hitchcock's work up through 1934, 1931's RICH AND STRANGE (aka EAST OF SHANGHAI) is NOT a thriller or mystery, but rather a more conventional domestic drama, in this case one involving a couple on an adventure that becomes more than they bargained for. Fred Hill (Henry Kendall) is a minor office drone who dreams of an exciting life, preferably involving the sea; his wife Emily (Joan Berry) is a bit more content, but when Fred gets an early inheritance from a rich uncle, she joins him enthusiastically enough on an around the world trip. After an uneventful quick journey through France, the couple takes ship bound for the East - and Fred rapidly becomes and stays ill. Emily meanwhile becomes friendly with the charming and slightly reserved Commander Gordon (Percy Marmont) who makes bid to steal her heart - and when Fred's stomach regains it's stability, he soon makes the acquaintance of "The Princess" (Betty Amann) who has much the same affect on him. Soon the two are both contemplating other lives...but complications, inevitably, occur.

This is a solid romance with some adventurous elements, particularly later in the film as our pair face problems on a sinking ship. Though made after The Skin Game, from the same year, it betrays more leftover elements of the silent cinema early on, with significant use of title cards in the first third of the film, and though the narrative is less inherently stagy than the earlier film (which was adapted from a play), it feels a bit more generic and predictable on the whole. The camerawork is just as impressive as in the earlier film, with a quite stunning virtuoso 360-degree pan to open the film which promises spectacle that isn't quite delivered - though the technical quality is fine throughout. The acting is generally quite good as well, with special notice given to Joan Berry, a petite and gorgeous young blonde who alas retired all too soon. She has quite a screen presence and probably gives the best performance in the film, never overacting as her partner Kendall sometimes ends up doing.

For my money then this is relatively minor Hitchcock, but almost nothing in the director's work is disposable, and this isn't one of those few poor exceptions - it's a good example of his early style with actresses, for one thing; no icy "Hitchcock blondes" on display here, though I suppose "The Princess" is something like a later femme fatale character. My disc is similar to but not exactly the same as the one in the photo here; it's Korean I think but I can't be certain as there's nothing in English on it. Like just about all of Hitch's work through the mid-30s this film is in public domain and available on zillions of labels; unlike the aforementioned THE SKIN GAME, most of the copies seem to be fairly decent with only a bit of hiss marring the sound for perhaps a quarter of the film, and a pretty decent picture in most cases. As in my review of the other film, I'd recommend The Alfred Hitchcock Box Set, which also includes THE RING, THE MANXMAN and THE SKIN GAME - all among Hitch's best work from the late 20s and early 30s - if you want the best quality.
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on December 20, 2014
This is not my favorite Hitchcock film and can hardly be called a suspense film. It appears to be a film made soon after audio was added to the technology of film-making but yet some of the acting style, timing of dialogue responses, and title cards make the film see awkward. This is understandable since the film was made in 1931. However, the small charm of the film are these very awkward left-over from earlier periods of film-making. The other charm of the film is Joan Barry’s leading performance as Emily Hill, the delightful wife of a foolish man. Joan Barry is very beautiful in a home-town girl way and her acting is the highlight of the film. The film is somewhat of a romantic comedy where a young lower-middle class couple come into some money and decide to take a world cruise where both are tempted by romance with partners that have qualities that their spouse may not have. Whereas Joan Barry as Emily Hill is a highlight, Henry Kendall as Fred Hill was a bit problematic as a character. He is a bit foolish about the world around him despite the fact that he thinks he is more sophisticated than his wife. He is not as grateful for such a fine wife as he should be, in my opinion, and I could not help but take Emily Hill’s side in the situation comedy. Emily meets and eventually falls for Commander Gordon, played by Percy Marmont, who eventually gives his opinion of Fred Hill, with which most viewers would agree. Fred remains a fool even though the couple must go through some adventures to finally rebuild their relationship. There are scenes that are fascinating such as the Hills finding themselves alone on a sinking ship in the China Sea or having the sinking ship overtaken by Chinese cat eating pirates. This may be my least favorite Hitchcock film but if you watch it, you will be entertained by the awkwardness of the film-making combined with some typical Hitchcock imagery.
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on May 24, 2014
This couple, the husband very discouraged about his mediocre life, decides to take an exotic vacation to have some adventure. I won't reveal what happens, but this is worth watching. Not a lot of dialogue, which is fine with me.
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on November 3, 2013
I saw Rich and Strange some years ago and was telling a friend about it when I saw it listed and was able to view it once again.
Rich and Strange is one of those movies you can see many times and still be entertained by all the levels of life the couple go through
only to realize "there's no place like home"
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on February 10, 2013
This one has no real mystery, but instead traces the problems faced by a young couple who unexpectedly come into a great deal of money. The movie makes interesting use of intertitles to alert the viewer to what is going on, making it feel almost like a silent film at times.

The quality of the video and audio are inferior, and while there is a restored version available on DVD, I haven't seen it so I can't compare.
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on December 7, 2002
I think I'm used to seeing Hitchcock suspense movies, not love ones. This one was still nice, but I do wish it had a different air to it. The only action is at the ending, where they must escape a sinking ship.
Well, event though it's a love story, I'll review it. Barry and Kendall make this movie very funny, the way they go around dancing and "playing" to music. Mixed with some wondeful characters, this is one Hitchcockian movie no one should miss.
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on October 11, 2000
When Alfred Hithcock makes a movie, you know that it will be good. He has a knack for putting ordinary people in deadly situations. This film is no different. Meet a couple on a vacation they may end up taking the ultimate relaxing sleep- in a coffin. Rich and Strange. A film that will chill you to the bone with it's spectacular acting.
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