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Lost Ancient Hitchcock Film Unearthed in New Zealand

By on August 4, 2011
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At least one half of an ancient 1923 silent melodrama written and edited by the legendary Alfred Hitchcock has been discovered in New Zealand, it emerged today.

The movie, The White Shadow, a supernatural thriller, starred Betty Compson in a dual role as twin sisters, one angelic and the other without a soul.  The film featured themes of soul migration.

The first three reels of the six-reel film were discovered by the National Film Preservation Foundation at the New Zealand Film Archive when they were donated following the death of a projectionist who had collected old silent films.

Although only three of the six reels of film remain (the others are presumed destroyed or lost) The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills will host a special screening of the film on September 22nd.

In addition to writing and editing duties, Hitchcock also had assistant director and art director duties on the film.

The White Shadow is a missing link, one of those few productions where we are able to bridge that gap of Hitchcock, the young guy with all these ideas, and Hitchcock the filmmaker,” said Hitchcock expert David Sterritt, author of The Films of Alfred Hitchcock.  “Even though he didn’t direct it, he was all over it.”

No other copy of The White Shadow is known to exist.