29 Sep 2011

Earliest Surviving Hitchcock Film Found in New Zealand Archive

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Looks like the naughty sister to me.

Roughly half of a 1923 silent film representing the earliest surviving work from Alfred Hitchcock’s pre-directorially-credited career was discovered, after sitting for 22 years in the collection of the New Zealand Film Archive.

The film’s discovery was the result of the American National Film Preservation Foundation‘s efforts to recover lost films preserved by New Zealand collector James Murtagh, which were donated to the New Zealand Film Archive at the time of his death in 1989. New Zealand’s remoteness and the high expense of shipping films caused distributors to treat the island as an end of the road screening destination. Films were sent there last, and were intended to be destroyed, rather than returned, after their theatrical run.

The White Shadow (1923), a melodrama revolving around the conflict between two sisters (both played by Betty Compson), one angelic, one “without a soul,” featured the 24 year-old Hitchcock serving as writer, art drector, assistant director, and editor.

The surviving half of the film was screened last Thursday for cineastes at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Los Angeles

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences article

LA Times

Long-Lost Hitchcock Film Found


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