Lost Alfred Hitchcock film found in New Zealand

Wed Aug 3, 2011 6:04pm EDT
 
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A lost 1920s Alfred Hitchcock film that provides clues into the legendary director's early working style has been discovered in New Zealand, archivists said on Wednesday.

Recently uncovered film "The White Shadow" features a 24 year-old Hitchcock's work as a writer, assistant director, art director and editor. The film was first released in 1924.

It is considered to be the earliest surviving feature film in which Hitchcock received a credit, according to the U.S.-based National Film Preservation Foundation.

Only the first three of the movie's six reels survive. That adds to the movie's mystery, which some film buffs see as fitting for Hitchcock, because he was famous for creating mysterious stories full of suspense.

"Who knows, maybe someday the rest of it will turn up, (and) we can put the pieces together," said Randy Haberkamp, director of educational programs for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. "Perfect for Hitchcock."

The three reels of "The White Shadow," which was directed by British filmmaker Graham Cutts, were donated in the 1980s to the New Zealand Film Archive by the family of late movie projectionist and collector Jack Murtagh.

"The film was mislabeled, so no one knew what it was really," Haberkamp said.

The film reels, in the form of highly flammable nitrate prints, sat in the New Zealand Film Archive for 23 years, the archive said in a statement.   Continued...