Beginning this week, early and iconic cinema directed by Alfred Hitchcock will tour the nation at wonderful locales. Here are the details:
~ THE HITCHCOCK 9 - Hitchcock’s nine earliest surviviving works, all newly restored by the British Film Institute, will roll out with screenings presented by the San Francisco Silent Film Festival at the Castro Theatre (June 14th-16th); the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (begins June 18th) at the Academy’s Goldwyn Theater, and continues at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and BAM cinématek in Brooklyn (June 29th – July 5th) at the Academy of Music’s Steinberg Screen in the Harvey Theater.
The nine early Hitchcocks are also set to play in Chicago, Seattle, Houston, Boston, Berkeley, Columbus, Washington, D.C., and other American cities. Both the Brooklyn and San Francisco events will feature live music performed by British composer and pianist Stephen Horne, the Colorado-based Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, and other artists. The touring festival is a joint venture of BFI, Park Circus / ITV Studios, and Rialto Pictures / Studiocanal.
While Hitchcock remains one of the most famous directors of all time, his first ten movies – nine of which surivive – are little known compared to his later works. From 1925 to 1929, his silents are among the greatest achievements of early British cinema, though most of the nine have been seldom-seen in the United States, if at all. The BFI restorations include Hitch’s first film, The Pleasure Garden, and such rarities as Champagne, Easy Virtue, Downhill, and The Farmer’s Wife. The familiar director’s style begins to emerge in at least four productions: Blackmail, The Ring, The Manxman, and The Lodger (with his first cameo role).
The Hitchcock 9 is the largest restoration project undertaken by BFI, which holds the earliest surviving copies of silent motion pictures by the master filmmaker. The restoration includes additional celluloid sourced from other international archives. One early Hitchcock production, The Mountain Eagle, is lost. A collection of stills went up for auction last fall, confirming its existence.
~ BLACKMAIL - Though Blackmail is commonly regarded as the first British talkie, Hitchcock also shot a silent version distributed to the many theatres that could not screen movies with sound. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will offer Blackmail Times Two!; a double feature of the silent and sound versions, featuring live musical accompaniment, on Tuesday, June 18th (as we noted above).
~ DIAL M FOR MURDER - A screening of the 3D digital projection of Dial M for Murder, and hosted by Oscar-winning visual effects artist Rob Legato, is presented Wednesday, June 19th. This event will also be held at the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre.
Other Los Angeles-area Hitchcock screenings include Vertigo, presented at the Los Angeles Film Festival, and a costume design-event at Oscars Outdoors; and Cinefamily’s and the Academy’s co-presentation of Hitchcock Home Movies and Other Rarities, featuring rarely seen work from the Alfred Hitchcock-collection.
What a Summer for Hitchcock enthusiasts; and a Good Evening at each event!
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