The first of many Hitchcock films on this list – probably more than any other director, and rightly so – shows the great man at his most experimental, as he attempted to shoot this film, based on a play by Patrick Hamilton, in one continuous shot. Limited only by the maximum length of a film reel at the time (10 minutes), a fact cleverly, if unsubtly hidden by editing shots of the backs of suits or a close up on an open chest lid, he pulls it off, utilising moving walls and tracking shots to accommodate the action as it pans out in the three rooms of an upmarket apartment.
The film follows two young men – the charming yet callous Brandon and his nervous, increasingly agitated friend Philip, as they attempt to cover up the perfect murder of their classmate David, whose body is hidden in the chest they use as a centrepiece for a party held for David’s family and friends. The acting is flawless, particularly from the two leads and James Stewart as their inquisitive former house master Rupert, and Hitch earns his moniker as the master of suspense, accomplishing an ever mounting level of tension with minimal music and meticulous plotting.
Choose film 9/10