The Skin Game

The Skin Game is a 1931 British drama film by Alfred Hitchcock, based on the 1920 play by John Galsworthy and produced by British International Pictures. The story revolves around two rival families, the Hillcrists and the Hornblowers, and the disastrous results of the feud between them. Edmund Gwenn and Helen Haye reprised their respective roles as Mr. Hornblower and Mrs. Hillcrist from the 1921 silent version. The plot concerns a feud between the long-established (upper class) Hillcrists, played by C.V. France, Helen Haye, and Jill Esmond, and the nouveau riche (formerly working class) Hornblowers, played by Edmund Gwenn, John Longden, Phyllis Konstam, and Frank Lawton. Underlying themes in the story include class warfare and the results of avarice. For his love of riches, Mr. Hornblower coldly enjoys a "skin game" of buying up land under false pretenses of letting the tenant farmers remain and then booting them out, in order to build factories. The Hillcrists learn of this and regret selling some land to him; in turn Hornblower considers them snobs, and taunts them with his plans to buy the picturesque countryside adjoining their rural estate which is due to be auctioned off. Visions of factories spewing smoke where a magnificent landscape has been maturing for several generations torment the Hillcrists. At the auction, the Hillcrists are outbid, then learn it was by Hornblower's agent. But Hillcrist employee Dawker learns a dark secret about the past life of Hornblower's now pregnant daughter-in-law Chloe, wife of Charles Hornblower. The Hillcrists confront Chloe and elder Hornblower together, and prove their case with witnesses. They are prepared to use the information, unless Hornblower agrees to deed the land to them. Reluctantly he agrees, making them swear to silence on a Bible. But now, townspeople are already gossiping and Charles has become suspicious. Chloe, terrified that this secret threatens her marriage, goes to the Hillcrist home to beg them to make up a story to tell Charles. More on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Skin_Game_(1931_film)

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