The Ring (1927 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Alfred Hitchcock|
|Produced by||John Maxwell|
|Written by||Alfred Hitchcock|
|Music by||Xavier Berthelot (uncredited)|
|Cinematography||Jack E. Cox|
|Distributed by||Wardour Films|
|Language||Silent film with English intertitles|
The Ring is a 1927 British silent sports film directed and written by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Carl Brisson, Lillian Hall-Davis and Ian Hunter. It is one of Hitchcock's nine surviving silent films. The Ring is Hitchcock's only original screenplay although he worked extensively alongside other writers throughout his career.
The film was made at Elstree Studios by the newly established British International Pictures who emerged as one of the two British major studios during the late 1920s and began hiring leading directors from Britain and abroad. It was Hitchcock's first film for the company, after joining from Gainsborough Pictures. It was also the first ever film to be released by the company.
Hitchcock was only 28 years old when he directed The Ring, but this was already the young filmmaker's fourth film. Hitchcock regularly attended boxing matches in London where he lived and he was struck by the fact that a good number of the spectators appear from good backgrounds and dressed in white. He also noticed that fighters were sprinkled with champagne at the end of each round. It was these two details that persuaded the young Hitchcock to start work on The Ring.
After directing Downhill and Easy Virtue, two stage adaptations for the Gainsborough company, Hitchcock was frustrated and jumped at the chance to develop an idea of his own. Surprisingly, The Ring is Hitchcock's one and only original screenplay, although he worked extensively alongside other writers throughout his career. Colleagues at the studio were impressed by the neatness of his script and its writer's grasp of structure. What's more, writing for silent films came naturally to a director who already thought in visual terms. He was much less comfortable with dialogue, which goes some way to explain why he took no sole writing credit in any later films.
The film, while widely considered a minor work, features photography tricks Hitchcock would use again years later in films like The Man Who Knew Too Much, most notably during the climactic boxing sequences.
The film's title refers not only to the boxing arena, but also to the wedding ring – and to a suggestive snake bracelet which becomes a symbol of the love triangle at the center of the film. The story revolves around a love triangle between a fairground boxer (Jack "One Round" Sander – Carl Brisson) whose lover (Mabel – Lillian Hall-Davis) falls for the charms of a professional boxer (Bob Corby – Ian Hunter).
The restoration was done by the BFI National Archive in association with media company Canal+ in 2005. Principal restoration funding was provided by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and The Film Foundation. Additional funding provided by Deluxe 142 and The Mohammed S. Farsi Foundation. A restored and remastered print of the film was released on DVD by Lionsgate Home Entertainment in 2007.
- Carl Brisson as 'One-Round' Jack Sander
- Lillian Hall-Davis as Mabel (as Lilian Hall Davis)
- Ian Hunter as Bob Corby
- Forrester Harvey as James Ware
- Harry Terry as Showman
- Gordon Harker as Jack's Trainer
- Charles Farrell as Second (uncredited)
- Clare Greet as Fortune Teller (uncredited)
- Tom Helmore (uncredited)
- Minnie Rayner as Boxing Contestant's Wife (uncredited)
- Brandy Walker as Spectator (uncredited)
- Billy Wells as Boxer (uncredited)
Film + music live staging
- Ryall p.93
- Ryall p.93
- Ryall p.94
- Ryall, Tom. Alfred Hitchcock and the British Cinema. Athlone Press, 1996.