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FARMER’S WIFE, THE (director/writer: Alfred Hitchcock; screenwriter: based on the play by Eden Philpotts/Eliot Stannard; cinematographer: Jack Cox; editor: Alfred Booth; cast: Jameson Thomas (Sam Sweetland), Lilian Hall-Davis (Araminta Dench), Gordon Harker (Mr. Ash), Louise Pounds (Louisa Windeatt), Gibb McLaughlin (Henry Coaker), Maud Gill (Thirza Tapper), Olga Slade (Mary Hearn), Ruth Maitland (Mary Bassett), Antonia Brough (Susan); Runtime: 97; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: John Maxwell; Republic Pictures Home Video; 1928-silent-UK)

“Enjoyable pastoral silent comedy of manners, that’s more interesting as a curio than as one of the Master’s better films.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Alfred Hitchcock(“The Lodger”/”Easy Virtue”/”The Ring”)directs this enjoyable pastoral silent comedy of manners, that’s more interesting as a curio than as one of the Master’s better films. It’s based on the Victorian-era play by Eden Philpotts.

Melancholy rich middle-aged widowed estate farmer in Devonshire, Sam Sweetland (Jameson Thomas), is lonely after his beloved wife passes away and his daughter moves out when she marries. Sam thereby sets out to find a new wife and sits down with loyal housekeeper Minta (Lilian Hall-Davis) to make a list of the eligible women in town and then goes courting them in order. The widower Louisa Windeatt (Louise Pounds) rejects him, saying she’s too independent for him. Thirza Tapper (Maud Gill) is too frightened of men to accept. The obese postmistress, Mary Hearn (Olga Slade), wildly laughs at his proposal claiming he’s too old, and saloon bartender Mary Bassett (Ruth Maitland) isn’t the marrying kind. Losing his temper and self-respect with each rejection, it finally dawns on Sam that the best prospect is Minta and she gladly accepts since she was secretly in love with him.

Comic relief is supplied by the always grumpy handyman, Ash (Gordon Harker), who describes marriage as “the proper steamroller for flattening the hope out of man and the joy out of a woman.” Which I take to be Hitchcock’s cynical cinema view of marriage and also the playwright’s.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”