The BFI's restoration of Alfred Hitchcock
's first film, about the tangled love lives of two chorus girls, introduces us to a Hitchcock we didn't know
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,