Lost Hitchcock film recovered in New Zealand

Three reels reveal The White Shadow.

by Jennie Kermode

Three reels of early Alfred Hitchcock film The White Shadow have been found in New Zealand. They are the only known surviving material from his first experiments in feature film. The film was originally six reels in length and was sent to the country from the US around 1924.

Hitchcock's first feature The White Shadow
Hitchcock's first feature The White Shadow

Exploring the concept of the doppelgänger that fans recently enjoyed in Hitchcock tribute film Double Take, The White Shadow tells the story of twin sisters (played by Betty Compson) with contrasting personalities. It's a silent film but is in many other ways ahead of its time, with suggestive nightclub scenes and plenty of action. Restoration work is now underway so that the film can be screened in cinemas around the world. It may not be complete but it offers fans a remarkable chance to see how the master developed his talent - and just what a remarkable talent he had from the start.

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