18 August 2011 4:06 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Nine of the 10 films Hitchcock directed in the 1920s are getting a full restoration. Henry K Miller enters the dusty world of the archivists and learns about the race to save the silents

The audience at the Capitol cinema in London during the middle week of April 1926 witnessed an unusually bold declaration of authorship. The opening moments of The Pleasure Garden, touted in the fan magazines as the debut of "the youngest director in the world", contained, under the "directed by" credit, the slanted and underlined signature of the 26-year-old Alfred J Hitchcock. What followed was also – as it would become clear over the decades – signature Hitchcock film-making. The film's first scene gives us a voyeur's-eye-view of a dancer's legs; and then makes us share the voyeur's unease as the look is returned. The Spectator's influential critic Iris Barry scented the "new blood" desperately needed by the ailing British film industry, »

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