Directed by Sam Taylor
Written by Allen McNeil & Tim Whelan
Tsff made its merry way up to Casa Loma on Monday night for a special screening of Mary Pickford’s final silent film on the occasion of the star’s 121st birthday (the organizers even served birthday cake during the intermission). Despite an interminable, bone chilling rain (which looked rather cozy sliding down the other side of the hundred-year old Gothic Revival castle’s windows), there was a packed house on hand to experience an authentic presentation of the film as it would have been shown at a cinema palace of the era, complete with accompaniment by the irrepressible Clark Wilson on the Toronto Theatre Organ Society‘s justly celebrated Wurlitzer organ. This magnificent instrument, which once enlivened screenings at Shea’s Hippodrome on Bay Street, was designed to put the power of an entire orchestra
Until last night no one had seen more than an approximation of Alfred Hitchcock's first film since it made his name 87 years ago. Unveiled at Wilton's Music Hall with a new score by recent Ram graduate Daniel Patrick Cohen, the BFI's restoration of The Pleasure Garden (1925) makes clear that the 26-year-old Hitchcock, as the Sunday Herald's critic Walter Mycroft wrote on its release, "definitely arrived in one stride". Its themes of voyeurism, manipulation, and delusion are instantly familiar from his better-known later work.
Wilton's, itself appealingly unrestored, provided an apt setting. A Victorian venue in Jack-the-Ripper territory, of the kind that was being displaced by cinemas when Hitchcock was working in nearby Blomfield Street, it is also not unlike the Pleasure Garden of the title,
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