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A technically compelling Hitchcock film which, while made early in his career and rather crude, displays his genius at creating visual suspense. A lighthearted parody of the thriller, the film centers around a group of jewel thieves who hide out in an abandoned house near a railway.
Detective Gilbert Fordyce (Stuart) is trying to get the goods on a gang, and does so with help from a tramp (Lion) and the gang's moll (Grey). Although it was a studio assignment which Hitchcock did not initially want to direct, NUMBER SEVENTEEN is filled with foreshadowings of his future films--a
keen sense of humor, visually supplied suspense, and a love of miniature model special effects. The lengthy, runaway train climax is remarkable. As much fun as the film can be, however, it is hampered by a cloudy plot which, unfortunately, distracts rather than informs. Filmed previously as a 1928