Lost Hitchcock film gem unearthed


Lost Hitchcock Film Discovered in New Zealand

Yes, I know the master of suspense spent much of his later years in Hollywood, but he was born in Leytonstone, London, England. Widely regarded as the greatest British film director of all-time in a 2007 poll of film critics conducted by the Daily Telegraph, Alfred Hitchcock was described as doing more than any director to shape modern cinema, which would be utterly different without him. I’d say that qualifies him and that we’re safe to include any kind of mention in tellyspotting.

From the Los Angeles Times

Just how great is this! A missing film that is believed to be the first feature on which Alfred Hitchcock received a credit (for writing) has been discovered in New Zealand. The discovery, however,  consists of only the first 30 minutes of a 1923 silent movie called “The White Shadows.”

As reported, “Hitchcock, who was just 24 at the time, was the writer, assistant director, editor and production designer on the melodrama, starring Betty Compson as twin sisters — one good and one bad — and Clive Brook. The White Shadows will have its ‘re-premiere’ Sept. 22 at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ Samuel Goldwyn Theater. The silent film will be added to the academy’s Hitchcock collection, which also includes the legendary director’s papers.”

According to the story, the film was found in the New Zealand Film Archive, headed by Frank Stark, where it had been safeguarded since 1989 as part of a collection of unidentified nitrate prints from the U.S. The story adds: “That’s when Tony Osborne, the grandson of New Zealand projectionist and collector Jack Murtagh, brought the highly unstable nitrate material to the archive.

What we are getting is the missing link,” said David Sterritt, chairman of the National Society of Film Critics and author of The Films of Alfred Hitchcock, making no attempt at all to play this discovery down.

Interestingly, The White Shadows was a British film released in the U.S. in 1924 by Lewis J. Selznick Enterprises and it was Selznick’s son, producer David O. Selznick, who would later bring Hitchcock to America to make ‘Rebecca.’”

  • Awesome! I just finished an analysis paper on Vertigo this weekend.

    • @Jessica: That and Rear Window are my all-time favorites.

  • I find it impossible to choose between Vertigo, Rear Window, The Birds, and The Trouble With Harry.

    • @Jessica….Have to throw Rebecca into the mix. Also, not Hitchcock, The Third Man is pretty great.