If, like me, you are a big fan of Alfred Hitchcock’s work, you are excited about the announcement that a long-lost piece of the master’s work has been found.
The apparent new addition to the Hitchcock library is part of The White Shadow, a silent film released in 1923. Hitchcock was the writer, assistant director, editor, and production designer for the movie which, like many silent films, was made using unstable, highly flammable material. No one had heard of or seen the movie in years, and many people thought it was lost forever. It turns out that part of the movie was squirreled away in a vault in the New Zealand Film Archive, improperly labeled, and was found by an American researcher. The find has thrilled film historians, who are eager to see whether the reels of The White Shadow show any of the flourishes that made Hitchcock movies so distinctive. The newly discovered work will be screened in Hollywood in September.
No doubt it will be a hot ticket. Filmgoers have endlessly analyzed the merits of Hitchcock’s films, his techniques, and his extraordinary ability to convey and then build suspense without resorting to cheap shocks. He was a groundbreaking talent, and watching his first real work in film will help people understand how that enormous talent developed.