Wednesday, 22 June 2016

The lost voice of Anny Ondra

One more Hitchcock post for today… A short screen test shot during the production of Blackmail featuring Hitch and actress Anny Ondra speaking with her own voice. Ondra’s Teutonic tones were the first casualty of talking pictures, when Blackmail was reconfigured for sound, Ondra who plays the daughter of a Cockney newsagent, was re-voiced by an actress standing offscreen. Ondra’s lip movements are actually quite synchronous with the disembodied voice although her pantomime gestures don’t quite gel. Anny Ondra appeared in two Hitchcock pictures – before Blackmail, she appeared as a sultry temptress in The Manxman, and should be considered Hitchcock’s first great blonde. Her brief stint in English Cinema ended with the demise of Silent pictures but she continued to appear in European productions up to the mid-40’s. Glancing at her filmography I see she made a film in 1928 called Suzy Saxophone, a great film title and one that would not sound out of place as a sexy female spy caper as directed by Jess Franco.

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