Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Hitchcock Is Back!

If you like films, there's been a lot to enjoy in 2012.
If you're a real (or should I say 'reel'?) cinema buff though, you'll have been eagerly awaiting the latest from that iconic master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock.
Yes, I know he's been dead since 1980...and yes, it's not really his latest film either...but now, thanks to the National Film Preservation Foundation, you can see his oldest surviving film.
Lost for decades, The White Shadow (1924), is the earliest surviving feature credited to Alfred Hitchcock, and it's now screening on the National Film Preservation Foundation’s website.
The first half of this mysterious melodrama, starring Betty Compson as twin sisters (one angelic and the other "without a soul"), turned up last year among a cache of unidentified American nitrate prints at the NZ Film Archive.
The film is one of 176 early long-unseen titles recovered through a multi-year preservation collaboration of the NZ Film Archive, the American film community, and the National Film Preservation Foundation. Some 70% are thought to survive nowhere else! Already 24 other films are available for free viewing on the NFPF website.
The film will run for two months, but not in its entirety. Y'see, the first three reels of the six-reel film are the only remaining pieces of the film that we have: just 43 minutes' worth. With Hitch credited as an art director, assistant director, editor and writer, the film is a melodrama that also stars his future wife, Alma Reville.
The White Shadow is an intriguing historical film document, and it's great to be able to see it online. Though directed by Graham Cutts, Hitchcock's hand is all over the picture. Enjoy!

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