Number 13 (1922)

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Cast overview:
Clare Greet ...
Mrs. Peabody
Mr. Peabody


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Number Thirteen  »

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This is the first film Alfred Hitchcock ever directed, sometime in late 1922 or early 1923. The story was about low-income residents of a building. It was written by a woman employed at Islington, her precise identity unknown. Even the film's title is unclear: Islington Studios' records listed it as being "Mrs. Peabody", but Hitchcock always referred to it as Number 13 (possibly because it was the thirteenth film he was involved in making, in some capacity) Hitchcock's uncle Joseph invested in the film, and when the funds ran out, star Clare Greet also pitched in funding. But the filming was ultimately shut down with only two reels of film completed. Despite the fact that several people have rated it here on IMDb, the picture was never actually completed or shown, but Adrian Brunel claims Hitchcock showed it to him in an unfinished state. The footage filmed is now long-lost, and nothing else is known about it, apart from Hitchcock's alleged assertion that it wasn't very interesting. See more »

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Information about this lost film of Hitchcock's
20 June 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Source: "The Life And Times Of Alfred Hitchcock" by John Russel Taylor, 1978, page 42 "Lady who came up with the idea was Anita Ross, at the time, a publicity woman for Famous Players-Lansky. She carried a certain weight because back in Hollywood she had worked with Chaplin, and that impressed everyone enormously. The exact circumstances of how this film was made, and how far it was made (it was certainly never finished), remain obscure. Even its title presents something of a mystery. In the records of Islington Studios it is called Mrs. Peabody; Hitchcock refers to it as Number Thirteen.

When studio wound down, among the other production in the works was a modest two-reeler variously titled Number 13 and Mrs. Peabody, written by Anita Ross, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It seems to have been a comedy; It featured American film star Clare Greet, and English stage-actor Ernest Thesiger. Even as modest as it was, film was never finished and seems to not exist today ("Thank heavens", says Hitchcock) ; it had the misfortune of being in production at the time Famous Players-Lansky was winding down operations, and studio was left deserted except for a skeleton crew, including Hitchcock."

Source: "Hitchcock, A Life In Darkness And Light" by Patrick McGilligan, 2003, on page 753/ 4: "Number 13 is unfinished; also referred to as "Mrs. Peabody". The picture dealt with London low-life, the number thirteen of the title referring to the number of a tenement flat in a Peabody Building (a poor-person's dwelling). In a letter, Ernest Thesiger comments on the fact that Clare Greet was persuaded to put up some of the money towards the making of the picture, which was never actually shown. Adrian Brunel, however, remembers Hitchcock showing it to him, in an incomplete state, in 1922." Special supplement to Sight And Sound, May 1949.

For whatever this may be worth, is it listed on under the title Mrs. Peabody, with "Scenario by Anita Ross". It should also be noted that Hitchcock was involved in the making of twelve films prior to this film, making it his thirteenth film. That could be why Hitchcock referred to it as Number 13, rather than its correct title, Mrs. Peabody.

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