This week’s Movie Monologue Monday is going to look at Herbert Marshall’s internal monologue in Alfred Hitchcock’s Murder!
The “internal monologue” is what runs through your character’s head when they are not speaking, it’s your character’s innermost thoughts. These thoughts aren’t usually heard by the audience, but they add richness to your performance.
The internal monologue in this case is actually heard out loud. We hear the character’s innermost thoughts as he listens to the radio.
Herbert Marshall plays Sir John Menier, who sat on the jury of a murder trial. The accused is convicted but Sir John has his doubts about her guilt.
The vocal part of the monologue is a bit melodramatic but it matches the tone of the orchestra quite beautifully. I like watching this piece for his use of facial expressions. He’s very economical with his movements despite the over the top vocal delivery. It’s amazing how much doubt, frustration, and guilt is packed into his performance without it becoming overwrought. He trusts the camera and the imagination of the audience to fill in the details.
Trivia about this scene: When this film was made, there was no way to combine two or more audio tracks together. We hear the character’s thoughts overtop the orchestra on the radio, and the only way Hitchcock could achieve this effect at the time was to hire an orchestra to play while Marshall spoke his lines at the same time! Secondly, this is the very first time that an internal monologue was used in film.