Stage Fright (1950) - full review!
Directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock, this average drama has little suspense and one notable spoiler. The screenplay was written by Whitfield Cook from two stories by Selwyn Jepson, Man Running and Outrun the Constable; the director's wife Alma Reville wrote the adaptation. Featuring a cast with Jane Wyman (Johnny Belinda (1948)) and Marlene Dietrich, largely playing herself, it also features actor Michael Wilding in his second (and last) straight collaboration, and disappointing film, with the director.
Wyman plays an aspiring actress, Eve Gill, that thinks she's in love with Jonathan Cooper (Richard Todd), who has told her that he's being pursued by the police because he's assisted Charlotte Inwood (Dietrich) in covering up a murder. Cooper says that Inwood murdered her husband and that he, as Charlotte's clandestine lover, was just trying to help her, e.g. by disposing of her blood stained dress, when he was seen by Inwood’s maid, escaping her premises. Wilding plays a police inspector named Smith who meets, and then falls in love with Eve, while investigating the crime and trying to find Cooper.
With help from her eccentric father Commodore Gill (Alastair Sim), Eve pretends to be a servant to get closer to the famous Inwood in order to "catch" her and prove Cooper's innocence. In order to gain access to singer, Eve bribes Inwood’s current assistant Nellie Goode (Kay Walsh) to pretend to be sick so that she can take her place. Eve's alter ego must then avoid Inspector Smith while he pursues the budding relationship he'd established with her true self. Besides its somewhat suspenseful ending, the film's only other real highlight is found in the charity fair scene, late in the story. It follows Sim's character as he tries to force a reaction from Dietrich's, and the necessary steps (involving Joyce Grenfell’s character) leading to it, and then the Inspector's realization about Eve's alter ego.
*** SPOILERS ***
It turns out that director Hitchcock "lied" to the audience in the film's opening flashback regarding Cooper; it is revealed that it was in fact Cooper who killed Inwood’s husband.