Downhill is an apt title for this disappointing Alfred Hitchcock silent feature. Ivor Novello plays the black sheep of a prosperous family, whose life begins its downward spiral when he is expelled from school after shielding a friend from punishment. Following several desultory adventures, Novello weds faithless actress Isabel Jeans, who divests him of what little money he has and runs off with another man. Only when he is at his lowest is Novello forgiven by his family. Downhill has in recent years gained a negative fame thanks to one of its most treacly dialogue subtitles: after being cashiered from school, the hero asks "Does that mean, sir, that I shall not be able to play with the Old Boys?"
by Hal Erickson synopsis