Saturday, November 24, 2012

Early Hitchcock film discovered, "The White Shadow"

For a limited time, you can view the first half of Alfred Hitchcock's first film, The White Shadow, discovered after some sleuthing by American archivist Leslie Lewis at the New Zealand Film Archive. This silent feature released by Hollywood in 1924 was thought lost, until Lewis identified two reels marked "Twin Sisters" and "Unidentified American film" as the first half of the picture (about 30 minutes). Credited as assistant director, Hitch also devised the plot, designed the sets, and edited the footage of what was billed as a "wild, atmospheric melodrama" starring actress Betty Compson as twin sisters, one angelic and the other "without a soul." Love the concept! If you get a chance to watch it, let us know what you think.

More Hitchcock: Strangers on a Train deluxe edition.


  1. One of our Gleaners--was it RPS?--said he had watched every movie ever made by Hitchcock. I hope he has time to add this dated melo. Maybe his practiced eye can discern the Master's touch; I cannot.
    The bad sister does nothing more horrible than leave a miserable home and struggle to live by her wits. Society's norms have come so far (whew!) that this idea of "wickedness" can be nothing less than absurd.
    The past is truly a foreign country.

    1. While I have the attention of people who know and love language, perhaps I may pose a question.
      When I was musing over what to say, the phrase "looking for something preminiscent of Hitchcock" occurred to me. Then I thought there is no such word, and I tried to find one that exists that would fulfill the meaning.
      I was trying for "evidence of the future in the past"--as I was seeking in the film some hint of Hitchcock's future style.
      Is there an existing word for this?

    2. very good points (re the bad girl moniker). Now let's watch us some film noir and she some real bad dames!

    3. Bette Davis did two films in which she played dual roles as good twin-bad twin--"A Stolen Life" and "Dead Ringer" (love that title).
      I'm sure there must be other actresses who displayed their virtuosity in twin roles. Which ones shall we watch?

    4. Got it! Foreshadowing! Only took me 2 1/2 months to think of it.

  2. Please excuse my poor typing above. I think I saw A Stolen Life (chills). Few can top Bette as a baddie (cf brandishing her pistol at the end of The Letter). That woman had pizzazz!! I must ponder the twin theme. Tranformations (as in Ninotchka) are a form of it, eh?