|Directed by||Maurice Elvey|
|Written by||L'Estrange Fawcett|
|Based on||the play High Treason by Noel Pemberton Billing|
|Produced by||Gaumont British Picture Corporation|
|Starring|| Jameson Thomas |
|Music by||Louis Levy (musical director)|
|Distributed by|| Gaumont British (UK)|
Tiffany Pictures (US)
|Languages||Silent with English intertitles; also released in sound version.|
High Treason is a 1929 film  based on a play by Noel Pemberton Billing. It was directed by Maurice Elvey, and stars James Carew, Humberstone Wright, Benita Hume, Henry Vibart, Hayford Hobbs, Irene Rooke, and Jameson Thomas.  Raymond Massey makes his first screen appearance in a small role. The film was initially produced as a silent but mid-way during production, Elvey was pushed by the studio to add sound to the film in order to cash in on the talkies. Although a third of the film was filmed in sound, Elvey maintained much of the silent footage and dubbed over the dialogue for shots that were originally silent, with Elvey himself voicing some of the minor characters, which he admitted when interviewed by the Mantioba Free Press shortly after the film was released in the US  Likewise, BIP's Blackmail, directed by Alfred Hitchcock was also turned into a sound picture mid-way during production (concurrently when High Treason was also in production) and many of the silent scenes used dubbed dialogue and sound effects in a similar fashion to High Treason.
The sound version of the film was presented in a London trade show on 9 August 1929,  then went into UK general release in silent and sound versions on 9 September 1929. The sound version was released in the US by Tiffany Productions in a heavily cut version (running just over 60 minutes) on 13 March 1930.  The silent version and a trailer for the sound version are preserved and held by the British Film Institute; the only known surviving original copy of the sound version is a lavender fine grain of the American release version held in the collection of Alaska Moving Image Preservation Association (AMIPA), which has been recently restored by the Library of Congress. 
The film is a science fiction drama set in a futuristic 1940 (though this was originally set in 1950 for the silent version). The plot and aesthetics of the film are heavily influenced by Fritz Lang's Metropolis . 
In 1940/50, world peace is threatened when the "United States of Europe" comes into conflict with the "Empire of the Atlantic States". The former comprises Europe, India, the Middle East, Canada, Africa, and Australasia. The latter is a combination of the United States and South America.
In the film the prohibition era in America extends to 1940 and the tension is initially caused by bootleggers crossing the borders between territories. One such incident leads to a shoot-out between border guards in which both sides suffer casualties. War looks likely, but the pacifist Peace League intervenes. Meanwhile, we learn that the tension is in fact carefully orchestrated by a sinister terrorist group financed by arms manufacturers. They blow up a rail tunnel under the English Channel. The President of Europe orders a mass enlistment and mobilisation, fearing that the Atlantic States are preparing a sneak attack.
Dr. Seymour, leader of the Peace League, desperately attempts to avert war. His daughter Evelyn seeks to convince her boyfriend Michael, commander of the European air force, not to fight, but he insists he must do his duty. Evelyn says she will leave him.
The European council are divided, but the president decides on war, saying that he will announce the outbreak of hostilities on television.
The terrorists try to kill Dr. Seymour by bombing the Peace League, but Seymour survives. He tells Evelyn to make another effort to stop Michael ordering the airforce to attack, while he appeals directly to the President. Pacifists led by Evelyn demonstrate en masse at the airfield. Michael is uncertain what to do, but Evelyn convinces him to delay the attack. Seymour confronts the President, but is forced, despite his pacifism, to shoot him to stop him making the broadcast.
The New York Times wrote, "this story is really such a farrago of nonsense that one is sorry Maurice Elvey could not find better material to his expert hand" ;  and more recently, the Radio Times wrote, "there is a sticky-backed plastic feel to the world of 1940 created by director Maurice Elvey on Gaumont's Shepherd's Bush soundstage, while the plot demonstrates a singular ignorance of political reality" ;  whereas Horrornews.net wrote, "High Treason is one of the best examples of early science fiction cinema." 
In 1998, a new sound version was produced by the combined efforts of the French drum & bass DJ duo Les Electrons Libres and local film archive La Cinémathèque de Toulouse. That version was a live electronic music mix to a 71 minutes copy from the Cinémathèque vault. Les Electrons Libres version of High Treason was screened in various French cities from 1998 to 1999 (Paris, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Rennes) and in Barcelona, Spain for the 1999 Sonar Festival. 
The following is an overview of 1929 in film, including significant events, a list of films released and notable births and deaths.
The year 1920 in film involved some significant events.
Blackmail is a 1929 British thriller drama film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Anny Ondra, John Longden, and Cyril Ritchard. Based on the 1928 play of the same name by Charles Bennett, the film is about a London woman who is blackmailed after killing a man who tries to rape her.
The Mysterious Island is a 1929 American science fiction film directed by Lucien Hubbard, based on Jules Verne's 1874 novel L'Île mystérieuse. It was photographed largely in two-color Technicolor and released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as a part-talkie feature, with some scenes with audible dialog and some that had only synchronized music and sound effects.
Hugo Riesenfeld was an Austrian-American composer. As a film director, he began to write his own orchestral compositions for silent films in 1917, and co-created modern production techniques where film scoring serves an integral part of the action. Riesenfeld composed about 100 film scores in his career.
Maurice Elvey was one of the most prolific film directors in British history. He directed nearly 200 films between 1913 and 1957. During the silent film era he directed as many as twenty films per year. He also produced more than fifty films – his own as well as films directed by others.
Benita Hume was an English theatre and film actress. She appeared in more than 40 films between 1925 and 1955.
High treason is criminal disloyalty to one's government.
The Tunnel, also known as Transatlantic Tunnel in the United States, is a 1935 British science fiction film directed by Maurice Elvey and stars Richard Dix, Leslie Banks, Madge Evans, Helen Vinson, C. Aubrey Smith and Basil Sydney. It is based on the 1913 novel Der Tunnel by Bernhard Kellermann, about the building of a transatlantic tunnel between New York and London. The script was written by Curt Siodmak, L. du Garde Peach and Clemence Dane. The film, produced at a time when the threat of war loomed in Europe, emphasized international cooperation between the United States and the United Kingdom.
At the Villa Rose is a 1920 British silent detective film based on the 1910 novel At the Villa Rose by British politician and author A.E.W. Mason. The feature was directed by Maurice Elvey and stars Manora Thew and Langhorn Burton. A print of the film survives at the British Film Institute archives.
Walter Forde was a British actor, screenwriter and director. Born in Lambeth, south London in 1898, he directed over fifty films between 1919 from the silent era through to 1949 in the sound era. He died in Los Angeles, California in 1984.
Hayford Hobbs was a leading British film actor of the silent era and later became a film director. He was born in London, England, in 1891. He made his first screen appearance in the 1915 film The Third Generation and appeared in his last film High Treason in 1929. The following year he directed his first film, a documentary about London.
The Face at the Window is a 1939 British horror film directed by George King. It was the second sound film adaptation of the 1897 stage melodrama by F. Brooke Warren after the 1932 version.
Stuart Legg was a pioneering documentary filmmaker. At the 14th Academy Awards in 1941, Legg's National Film Board of Canada film Churchill's Island became the first-ever documentary to win an Oscar.
Estelle Brody was an American actress who became one of the biggest female stars of British silent film in the latter half of the 1920s. Her career was then derailed by a series of ill-advised decisions and she disappeared from sight for many years before re-emerging between the late 1940s and the 1960s in smaller supporting film and television roles.
Hindle Wakes is a 1927 British silent film drama, directed by Maurice Elvey and starring Estelle Brody and John Stuart. The film is adapted from Stanley Houghton's 1912 stage play of the same name, and reunites Brody and Stuart following their hugely popular pairing in the previous year's Mademoiselle from Armentieres. The film was also released under the title Fanny Hawthorne.
Henry Vibart was a Scottish stage and film actor, active from the 1880s until the early 1930s. He appeared in many theatrical roles in the UK and overseas, and featured in over 70 films of the silent era.
When Knights Were Bold is a comedy play by the British writer Harriett Jay writing under the pseudonym of Charles Marlowe which was first performed in 1906. A British officer Guy De Vere returns home from service in India after inheriting an estate and a baronetcy in the village of Little Twittering where he encounters a number of eccentrics. His cousin Rowena, meanwhile, falls madly in love with him. It should not be confused with the 1898 novel When Knighthood Was in Flower by Charles Major which is sometimes known by this title.
Verdun: Visions of History is a 1928 French docudrama film directed by Léon Poirier. It portrays the battle of Verdun, primarily by recreating the battle on its location, but also with the use of newsreel footage and dramatic scenes. Most of the people in the film are actual French and German World War I veterans, including Marshal Philippe Pétain who portrays himself. The film has a pacifist message.
The year 1929 was marked, in science fiction, by the following events.