Gwenn plays Hornblower, the ambitious and somewhat unscrupulous head of a new-moneyed family. His expanding factory empire puts him at odds with the Hillcrists, an old-moneyed family. The Hillcrists find themselves powerless until they discover a secret about Hornblower’s daughter-in-law.
Like Hitchcock’s prior stage adaptation, Juno and the Paycock, The Skin Game disappoints. The story’s stiff melodrama offers Hitchcock little room to shine aside from some dynamic camerawork during an auction scene. It’s not a disaster like Paycock, (Gwenn’s performance proves engaging and I appreciated the darker ending) but it left me wanting.
The Kino Lorber Blu-ray (part of the Hitchcock: British International Pictures Collection set) disappoints. Scratches and telecine wobble plague the scan. I can forgive the former, but not the latter. Compounding matters, the digital noise reduction renders an unnatural grain crawling over most faces.