Lost 1924 Hitchcock film found in New Zealand

August 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

Always good news. From the people that brought us Ford’s 1927 Upstream. What more is there in those vaults ?

The acclaimed director was 24 when he worked on what was billed as a “wild, atmospheric melodrama” starring actress Betty Compson as twin sisters, one angelic and the other “without a soul”. He was credited as assistant director and also wrote the scenario, designed the sets and edited the footage. At the time silent Hollywood films were distributed worldwide and, while many prints were discarded and lost in the US, others survived abroad where they were kept after runs in cinemas had finished. The White Shadow owes its survival to Jack Murtagh, a projectionist in the provincial New Zealand town of Hastings, who was regarded as an eccentric collector of films, cigarette cards, stamps and coins. After his death in 1989 Mr Murtagh’s private collection of highly flammable nitrate film prints was sent for safekeeping to the national archives in Wellington by his grandson Tony Osborne.

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