Thanks to the efforts of the National Film Preservation Foundation, you can now watch a recently-recovered mid-twenties Alfred Hitchcock film for free online.
Well, kind of and kind of.
Hitchcock is not the credited director of the film, called The White Shadow. That honor goes to Graham Cutts, a popular British director of the era. Hitchcock worked with Cutts on the film, and is the writer, assistant director, editor, and production designer of the 1924 drama.
And the film is incomplete. All that survived were 3 of 6 reels, making for a 42-minute running time. Still, a lot of it is there and it is definitely worth a view for any Hitchcock fans or simply fans of classic cinema.
Originally made in six weeks as a vehicle for star-of-the-times Betty Compson, The White Shadow follows the success of 1923’s Woman to Woman. It didn’t receive the same box-office take, however. From the NFPF:
“Dazzled by their own success, producers Michael Balcon and Victor Saville rushed a second Compson picture into production — The White Shadow — and whisked it to theaters with a conspicuously clunky advertising tag: ‘The same Star, Producer, Author, Hero, Cameraman, Scenic Artist, Staff, Studio, Renting Company as Woman to Woman.’ It also had the same Paris setting, and again Hitchcock’s scenario was based on a work by Michael Morton, this time his unpublished novel Children of Chance. The box-office results were definitely not the same, however: ‘It was as big a flop,’ Balcon wrote in his memoir, ‘as Woman to Woman had been a success.’ This notwithstanding, plans proceeded for three more Cutts-Hitchcock pictures, commencing with The Passionate Adventure in 1924.”
Thought to be lost, the film was discovered in August 2011 among a bunch of nitrate prints which were said to have been left at the New Zealand Film Archive in 1989.
You can watch the film on the NFPF site.[h/t The Verge]