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...”"Lost Hitchcock feature recovered in New Zealand"
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.
David Pescovitz is Boing Boing's co-editor/managing partner. He's also a research director at Institute for the Future. On Instagram, he's @pesco.