Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
New ‘Ant-Man’ Photos; Movie May Include More Marvel Cinematic Universe Characters New ‘Ant-Man’ Photos; Movie May Include More Marvel Cinematic Universe Characters Over 30 New 'Jurassic World' Photos, Plus 2 New Clips & Lots Of New TV Spots Over 30 New 'Jurassic World' Photos, Plus 2 New Clips & Lots Of New TV Spots Matt Damon Goes Interstellar Again In New Pics From Ridley Scott's 'The Martian' Matt Damon Goes Interstellar Again In New Pics From Ridley Scott's 'The Martian' First Look: Matt Damon As An Astronaut In Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ First Look: Matt Damon As An Astronaut In Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ Cannes Review: Justin Kurzel's 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard Cannes Review: Justin Kurzel's 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard Watch: Incredible Vintage Footage Of Audience Reactions To 'The Exorcist' In 1973 Watch: Incredible Vintage Footage Of Audience Reactions To 'The Exorcist' In 1973 Cannes Review: Gaspar Noé's Hardcore And Softhearted 'Love' Cannes Review: Gaspar Noé's Hardcore And Softhearted 'Love' Here's The Character Backstory For Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Here's The Character Backstory For Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Cannes Review: Hou Hsiao-Hsien's 'The Assassin' Is An Epic Visual Poem Cannes Review: Hou Hsiao-Hsien's 'The Assassin' Is An Epic Visual Poem The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever Roger Deakins To Shoot Denis Villeneuve's 'Blade Runner' Sequel Roger Deakins To Shoot Denis Villeneuve's 'Blade Runner' Sequel More NSFW Posters For Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' Plus The Official Director's Statement More NSFW Posters For Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' Plus The Official Director's Statement Cannes: Watch A Three Way Makeout In The First Clip From Gaspar Noe’s 3D ‘Love’ Plus New NSFW Image Cannes: Watch A Three Way Makeout In The First Clip From Gaspar Noe’s 3D ‘Love’ Plus New NSFW Image Simon Pegg Worries That Adults Obsessed With Comics & Sci-Fi Have Become "Infantilized By Our Own Taste" Simon Pegg Worries That Adults Obsessed With Comics & Sci-Fi Have Become "Infantilized By Our Own Taste" George Miller Says 'Interstellar' Came Close To What His Version Of 'Contact' Would've Been Like George Miller Says 'Interstellar' Came Close To What His Version Of 'Contact' Would've Been Like New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season 10 Movies Booed At Cannes 10 Movies Booed At Cannes All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

30 Minutes Of Lost Alfred Hitchcock-Penned Film 'The White Shadow' Unearthed In New Zealand

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist August 3, 2011 at 1:37AM

Any kind of discovery of a lost film is something of a victory for movie lovers, but particularly so when one of the 17 or so silent-era films that the master Alfred Hitchcock was involved in -- something of a Holy Grail for film restorers -- are dug up, and good news has arrived today courtesy of the LA Times. The paper reports that The National Film Preservation Foundation has announced that three reels, totaling about 30 minutes, of "The White Shadow," a 1923 film on which Hitchcock was the writer, assistant director, editor and production designer, have been discovered, and will be premiered at the Academy on September 22nd.
2


Any kind of discovery of a lost film is something of a victory for movie lovers, but particularly so when one of the 17 or so silent-era films that the master Alfred Hitchcock was involved in -- something of a Holy Grail for film restorers -- are dug up, and good news has arrived today courtesy of the LA Times. The paper reports that The National Film Preservation Foundation has announced that three reels, totaling about 30 minutes, of "The White Shadow," a 1923 film on which Hitchcock was the writer, assistant director, editor and production designer, have been discovered, and will be premiered at the Academy on September 22nd.

The film, which stars Betty Compson and Clive Brook, is considered to be the first on which Hitchcock had a major credit, and was directed by Graham Cutts, who feuded with Hitchcock and is described by expert David Sterritt as "a hack." The film has long been considered lost, but as it turns out, had been languishing in the New Zealand Film Archive for close to 20 years where the Kiwi foundation generally only had the funding to look after home-grown pictures. Last year, however, the U.S. archive received a grant to check out the American films in the archive, which turned out to include a 1927 John Ford silent "Upstream." Encouraged by that success, they returned and found the Hitchcock, labelled as "Twin Sisters" and "Unidentified American Film."

Nitrate film expert Leslie Lewis was the one who discovered it and says, "We pulled a bunch of reels from the nitrate vaults and I just started going through them. 'White Shadow' was initially labeled 'Twin Sisters.' I went home and started poking around, did a lot of research and narrowed down the possibilities. I realized that this was more like a film that Hitchcock worked on. I went to their archives the next day and used their research to pull out some contemporary reviews and summaries and confirmed it was 'White Shadow.' But I was inspecting another reel that was just identified as 'Unidentified American film.' I put it on the table and I recognized the actors and the sets. I took dozens of photographs of each reel and then compared them [to the other two reels] and they belonged together."

So good news all around. As we said, the film will be screened at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater on September 22nd before being added to their Hitchcock collection. In the meantime, there are still many Hitchcock pictures still to be discovered, most notably the 1928 "The Mountain Eagle," which the director himself described as "awful." So, you know, if you have any nitrate prints knocking around your attic, do double check...

This article is related to: Vintage Directors, Alfred Hitchcock


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates