July 5, 2010 / 12:43 PM / 7 years ago

UK film body launches "adopt a Hitchcock" scheme

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - The British Film Institute (BFI) has called on the public to adopt an Alfred Hitchcock movie in a bid to raise the one million pounds ($1.5 million) it needs to restore nine of the master's works.

A contribution of 5,000 pounds, via the website www.bfi.org/saveafilm, will earn the donor an on-screen credit, while 100,000 pounds is enough to restore an entire picture.

Smaller donations are also welcome, with 25 pounds enough to restore 50 cm of film.

According to the BFI, Hitchcock's early silent films are in urgent need of attention and are a crucial part of British cultural history.

Its list of nine movies includes "The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog," which was acclaimed as a masterpiece on its release in 1926.

The British director, who died 30 years ago, is best known for Hollywood thrillers like "Psycho" and "Vertigo." He was nominated five times as best director at the Oscars but never won.

Digital techniques mean that scratched and damaged original negatives can be improved significantly, and if the BFI raises sufficient funds it plans to commission a new score for each film.

The BFI is also promoting a nationwide search for 75 missing films and has drawn up a list of "most wanted" pictures, topped by Hitchcock's "The Mountain Eagle" (1926).

It was one of his earliest films and the only one of more than 50 movies he directed to be lost.

The Mountain Eagle, something of a "holy grail" for Hitchcock fanatics, is set in Kentucky and tells the story of a young teacher called Beatrice who is forced to leave the mountain village where she lives after turning down the advances of the local justice of peace.

Also included in the top 10 most wanted is "A Study in Scarlet," dated 1914 and directed by George Pearson, which features super sleuth Sherlock Holmes for the first time in a British movie.

Editing by Steve Addison

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