Lost early Hitchcock film found

 Cnn 2011 Images 08 03 T1Larg.Hitchcock.Afp.Gi Researchers have found a "lost" Alfred Hitchcock film from 1923 in a New Zealand film vault. Titled "The White Shadow," it features Betty Compson playing twins --- one angelic and the other devilish. Unfortunately, only the first three of the six reels have been located so the ending will be left to the imagination. From the New Zealand Film Archive:
The White Shadow was among the many silent-era movies salvaged by New Zealand projectionist and collector Jack Murtagh. After his death in 1989, the highly flammable nitrate prints were sent to the Film Archive for safekeeping by Tony Osborne, the collector’s grandson. The Hitchcock film is just one of the treasures uncovered, including John Ford’s Upstream, which owe their survival to Murtagh’s passion for early cinema. Reflecting on his grandfather’s passion Tony Osborne says, “From boyhood, my grandfather was an avid collector– be it films, stamps, coins or whatever. He was known, internationally, as having one of the largest collection of cigarette cards and people would travel from all over the world to view his collection. Some would view him as rather eccentric. He would be quietly amused by all the attention now generated by these important film discoveries...”

In addition to the preservation work on The White Shadow and Upstream carried out in New Zealand, many other titles for preservation have been identified amongst the latest find. They include the early Technicolor film The Love Charm (1928), early narratives from pioneering woman directors Muriel Ostriche and Alice Guy, a 1920 dance demonstration by ballerina-choreographer Albertina Rasch, a tantalizing fragment from the Keystone Kops’ lost slapstick comedy In the Clutches of the Gang (1914), and a number of other shorts and newsreel stories long unavailable in the United States.

"Lost Hitchcock feature recovered in New Zealand"


  1. As interesting as the films would be to see, I’d love to see photos of the vault itself. It must have been kept immaculately to prevent the nitrate-based film from degrading over all these years.

    1.  As you may note from the link, they were in this guy’s shed until 1989 (along with John Ford’s ‘Upstream’, the rediscovery of which you may have noticed earlier).

  2. “…so the ending will be left to the imagination.”
    Truly, Hitchcock remains the Master of Suspense!

  3. It ends with the devilish side getting what she deserves in an unexpected and ironic way. I bet. Had wondered if he appeared in the first three reels then RTFA and saw he didn’t, as they say, helm the picture.

  4. At the risk of getting flamed, what’s been found is a lost Graham Cutts film:

    “The White Shadow” was rushed into production after the success of the studio’s previous film, “Woman to Woman”, which also starring Betty Compson.  Unfortunately, “The White Shadow” was such a critical and commercial failure that the studio’s main financier (C.M. Woolf) withdrew funding and the studio went bankrupt before it could make another film.

    Hitchcock’s involvement in the failure of the film ultimately meant that film distributors (especially C.M. Woolf) were extremely reluctant to show his first two directorial outings (“The Pleasure Garden” and “The Mountain Eagle”).  Both films were shelved and weren’t seen widely until after a re-edited cut of his third film (“The Lodger”) proved commercially successful.

    So, I don’t think we’re talking the discovery of a cinematic gem here.  However, it helps to fill a gap in Graham Cutts’ filmography and will give Hitchcock scholars an opportunity to study a film that he was involved with.

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