Sunday Matinee: Early Hitchcock

Earlier this week in New Zealand news broke that a lost Alfred Hitchcock film was rediscovered. Or at least the first three reels of the six reel film. Several other lost films were also found.

But The White Shadow (1923) isn’t really a Hitchcock film. It’s a Graham Cutts film. Hitchcock worked as his assistant director and as the film’s art director as well the screenwriter. It was a quickly made film, done to capitalize on Cutts and Hitchcock’s previous work Woman to Woman (1923). Woman to Woman was a big hit at the time for Cutts and is now considered a lost film. The White Shadow was, according to producer Michael Balcon, a big bomb. It was about two twin sisters. One evil and one good.

Graham Cutts film career was big in the silent era. From his controversial 1922 film Cocaine about the drug trade in London to his trilogy of Ivor Novello films The Rat (1925), The Triumph of the Rat (1926) and The Return of the Rat (1929). Once sound came around Cutts faded away.

Alfred Hitchcock’s first offical film (he had an unfinished film and an uncredited film under his belt by this time) was The Pleasure Garden (1925) about a couple of chorus girls. Hitchcock got the film after Cutts refused to allow Hitchcock to work on The Rat.

Hitchcock’s next film The Mountain Eagle (1926) is a lost film. His next film the 1927 The Lodger started his career as The Master of Suspense.

Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927)

The Ring (1927) was made in the same year as The Lodger is a boxing melodrama. His next five silent films were all melodramas and comedies.

Blackmail (1929) was Hitchcock’s last silent film and first talkie. It was shot silent and in the middle of production it was decided to make it a talkie. The plot revolves around a detective’s girlfriend who murders a would be rapist. Then the blackmailing begins.

Author: Shane Hnetka

Shane Hnetka has spent most of his life watching movies and reading comic books. He has decided to use this vast knowledge for evil instead of good.