Last but not least of my vintage posts
Alfred Hitchcock’s Earliest Known Film Makes Its Debut (80 years Later)
Alfred Hitchcock’s very first film, locked away for almost 80 years has now been found.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences screened the first 30 minutes of the famed director’s 1923 film “The White Shadow” on Thursday at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Los Angeles. Hitchcock wrote, designed, edited and assistant-directed the film — “an atmospheric melodrama starring Betty Compson in a dual role as twin sisters, one angelic and the other ‘without a soul’” — when he was just 24 years old.
How could such a rare piece of film history turn up in a small New Zealand town, of all places? The land of the Kiwis used to be the last stop on overseas distribution tours from Hollywood, and studios preferred to avoid the hassle of shipping the prints back to the States, opting to discard the films instead.Thanks to some film preservationists and the mild climate of New Zealand, “The White Shadow” is in pretty good condition. Of course, the film buffs are all about this find. The chairman of the National Society of Film Critics, David Sterritt, explains, “These first three reels offer a priceless opportunity to study his visual and narrative ideas when they were first taking shape.”