6 items from 2012
The Disc-less is a column exploring films not available on DVD in North America. While physical media is becoming less and less relevant with the advent of online streaming, the best quality for films outside of a theater are still DVDs and Blu-Rays. The release of major and minor cinematic works on physical media has lead to reevaluation of cinematic history. The Disc-less hopes to point cinephiles to films still not available, as well as possible ways one can see them. With "Hitchcock" now in theaters giving us a (not very accurate) portrait of the Master of Suspense, one of history's greatest directors is once again in the conversation. Additionally, the National Film Preservation is currently streaming a partial copy of "The White Shadow," a 1924 silent by Graham Cutts, one of Hitchcock’s early mentors and collaborators. In honor of Cutts and Hitchcock, this week’s column highlights our neighbors across the Atlantic, »
- Peter Labuza
November seems to be the month for exciting things in the world of film preservation. Last year, Martin Scorsese released Hugo, a lovely film that was just as much about the value of George Melies’ films as it was the titular character. This year, Alfred Hitchock fans are in for a treat.
Although Hitchcock, the recently released film about the making of Psycho, has been drawing in decidedly mixed reviews, the National Film Preservation Foundation has successfully restored part of The White Shadow, Hitchock’s earliest surviving film. The film, a 1924 melodrama that Hitchcock wrote, edited, assistant directed and headed the art direction for, is streaming for free here for the next two months.
The White Shadow is very much a work of its time. Its silent actors are far more physical than most of their modern contemporaries, and communicate more through body language and gesture than the intertitles. Its »
- Justin Harrison
Via the National Film Preservation Foundation (click here to watch the film at their site): The White Shadow (1924), directed by Graham Cutts with Alfred Hitchcock credited as assistant director, art director, editor and scenarist.
From David Sterrit:
"Watching the surviving reels of The White Shadow with an audience vividly illustrates the natural gifts of the young Hitchcock as well as the enduring power of silent cinema. When the film comes to a halt in the middle of a bravura staircase shot, you’re likely to hear an audible sigh of disappointment from those around you, and from yourself as well. I began by evoking the richness of the film’s individual images, and I’ll close by praising the rhythmic vitality and superbly choreographed movement of these moving pictures when the projector brings them alive. “Just as the sun casts a dark shadow,” the opening intertitle tells us, “so »
In 1924, a title designer and budding writer/director named Alfred Hitchcock took the unpublished novel “Children of Chance” and adapted it into The White Shadow for director Graham Cutts. He had worked previously as assistant director and writer under Cutts for 1923′s massive success Woman to Woman, and it was these first in a handful of projects for Cutts that led to him directing his first feature in 1925. Until recently, The White Shadow was thought lost, but a discovery in New Zealand and arduous work from the National Film Preservation Foundation have made most of the print available. You can watch it here. Sadly, the print isn’t complete, but over 40 minutes have survived that show off the early promise that Hitchcock would later fulfill as a visual genius and a master of suspense storytelling. Plus, the online screening room comes with a ton of detailed information from critic David Sterritt about how the film came about »
- Cole Abaius
Funny faces to lost gems, war horses to strange censorship, silent film is a wondrous way to immerse oneself in history
A trip to the British silent film festival is a unique opportunity to wallow in some unfamiliar waters. Four days immersed in silent cinema is time spent in the company of many films that have been forgotten or misremembered, films that have only been seen before by archivists and researchers, and that may never get a public airing again. Some of these films are great, but even those that aren't are fascinating, as cinema history, and as a glimpse of what it was like to live in Britain 100 years ago.
1. "They didn't need dialogue, they had faces"
We're all familiar with Gloria Swanson's famous line in Sunset Boulevard, but she was talking about the blandly beautiful people of Hollywood. The faces of British silent cinema may not be attached to famous names, »
- Pamela Hutchinson
Last year, the New Zealand Film Archive and the National Film Preservation Foundation announced that they'd discovered a tinted print of The White Shadow (1924), "an atmospheric melodrama starring Betty Compson, in a dual role as twin sisters — one angelic and the other 'without a soul.' With mysterious disappearances, mistaken identity, steamy cabarets, romance, chance meetings, madness, and even the transmigration of souls, the wild plot crams a lot into six reels." As David Sterritt noted in that announcement, though he was only 24 at the time, "Alfred Hitchcock wrote the film's scenario, designed the sets, edited the footage, and served as assistant director to Graham Cutts, whose professional jealousy toward the gifted upstart made the job all the more challenging."
Today, Farran Nehme, Marilyn Ferdinand and Roderick Heath have announced that their third For the Love Film blogathon, running from May 13 through 18, will be a fund-raising drive to rouse up »
6 items from 2012
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