Classic Film Guide

The Manxman (1929) - full review!

Director Alfred Hitchcock's last silent film features the beautiful and fetching Anny Ondra (born in what is now known as Poland) in a love triangle opposite Carl Brisson and Malcolm Keen. It was based on a novel by Sir Hall Caine; Eliot Stannard provided the scenario. The story takes place on the Isle of Man, where its residents are referred to as Manx.

Pete Quilliam (Brisson) loves Kate Cregeen (Ondra) but her father Caesar (Randle Ayrton) doesn't consider the big galoot worthy given his meager financial position. Pete's best friend Philip Christian (Keen) also secretly loves Kate, and he's a lawyer destined to become the deemster, aka judge. When Pete goes off by ship to earn his fortune, Kate and Philip spend time together, but it's not until they learn that he's been killed that they begin their affair. But the news of Pete's death was premature; he returns as promised and the clandestine affair comes to an end. With her father's (and mother's; Clare Greet) blessing, a dazed Kate marries Pete and the couple quickly has a child. Predictably, their marriage is soon in the doldrums and Kate leaves Pete, a note saying she loves another, with their infant child. She returns to Philip, who's just been named deemster and now faces the biggest day in his career amidst a possible scandal. Meanwhile, Pete tells everyone he's sent his wife on holiday.

*** SPOILERS ***

A short time later, Kate remembers that she'd left her child behind and returns to Pete. When the new ‘father’ refuses to give up custody, Kate drops the bombshell that it's not his child. She then attempts suicide. However, she's rescued and brought before the Deemster. Of course, Philip recognizes her instantly. Soon, Pete is there to claim his distraught wife. Kate's father, also in the gallery, witnesses the look between his daughter and Philip and proclaims the Beecher is the baby's father! Philip then admits that it's true and resigns his position. Later, he and Kate depart with their child from Pete's home.

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