The Ring (Alfred Hitchcock / United Kingdom., 1927):

The sideshow pugilist (Carl Brisson) is nicknamed "One-Round" for his victories over paying challengers; he meets his match as the Australian heavyweight champ (Ian Wolfe) drops by the London carnival, his ticket-selling fiancée (Lillian Hall-Davis) watches the spectacle through a rectangular flap in the tent. The shape is a romantic triangle inside a quizzical circle, the perpetual instability of human relationships -- Alfred Hitchcock gives it a Germanic veneer and a striking welter of symbols, broad and subtle. Superimposed images state thought, funhouse mirrors give you vision deformed by drink and jealousy. A 45° view of a carousel, rolls of tickets, tell-tale bracelets and baubles, victrolas, the prizefighter’s arena. Rings. Wofe and Hall-Davis at a party with jazzy flappers, Brisson and friends at a party with stagnant champagne (and an early appearance by the Rope set). "I’d be training for a divorce if I left her there!" Hitchcock photographs the climactic bout from a high angle for a geometric snapshot of the bloodlusting crowd outside the ropes, then up close for the shock of pale torsos slamming against a darkened background. Bergman reuses the quick dolly into the wife’s face in the audience right before the punch (Sawdust and Tinsel), De Palma remembers the hero’s mouth mauled by an uppercut (The Black Dahlia). The camera’s eye is literally knocked out, the heroine switches sides, lives are saved or ruined, just another day at the fair. With Forrester Harvey, Harry Terry, and Gordon Harker. In black and white.

--- Fernando F. Croce

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