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Thread: Hitchcock 9 in US tour

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    Hitchcock 9 in US tour

    Hitchcock 9 in US tour

    I missed the US debut of this BFI restoration set at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival June 14-16, but I am watching the BFI-restored Hitchcock 9 on DVDs in sequence and will report on them individually on this thread and in the Festival Coverage section rather than the Classic Film section since they debuted at the local festival and are going to screen all over the US. The following introduction to this release is from the Indiewire blog Thompson on Hollywood:

    BFI's 'Hitchcock 9,' the Master of Suspense's Earliest Surviving Works, Kicks Off Its Stateside Tour UPDATED

    BY BETH HANNA AND RYAN LATTANZIO
    JUNE 14, 2013 12:10 PM


    Alma Reville, Patricia and Alfred Hitchcock

    Hitchcock fans rejoice. The BFI has kicked off its stateside national tour of "The Hitchcock 9," a program of Alfred Hitchcock's nine earliest surviving works, all in newly restored 35mm prints. It launches at the Castro Theatre (June 14-16 [2013]) for the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, and will make its way to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (June 18), then to LACMA (June 27 - July 13) and BAMcinématek in Brooklyn (June 29- July 5).
    According to the Institute, this is the largest restoration project they have ever undertaken.

    Cinephiles across the country will eventually have access to screenings in Washington D.C., Berkeley, Chicago, Seattle, Houston, Boston and other American cities. Live musical accompaniment will be featured at several screenings, including, of course, the SF Silent Film Festival.

    Made between 1925 and 1929, these little-seen early entries in Hitchcock’s British oeuvre represent early incubations of the auteur’s motifs and obsessions. Films include: “The Pleasure Garden” (1925); “Downhill” (1927); “The Lodger” (1927); “The Ring” (1927); “Easy Virtue” (1928”); “Champagne” (1928); “The Farmer’s Wife” (1928); “The Manxman” (1929); “Blackmail” (1929).

    Unfortunately,1926's “The Mountain Eagle” remains lost, but a collection of stills went up for auction last fall confirming the existence of the film.

    Individual performances of the films have so far been seen in France, New Zealand, Brazil, Ukraine, USA, India, China, Armenia, Sweden and Spain. Further screenings are planned for 2013/14 in the Czech Republic, Mexico, Germany and Australia with more to be announced.

    Hitchcock has been enjoying a renaissance over the past 18 months, from the director's Universal titles in a stunning Blu-ray collection to Fox's "Alfred Hitchcock: The Classic Collection," which includes "Rebecca," "Spellbound" and "Notorious." Our TOH! "Now and Then" column looks at the relationship between Hitch's 40s bad-ass brunettes and those icy 50s blondes.
    Hitchcock 9 SFSFF Festival Coverage thread.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-04-2013 at 02:04 PM.

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    Manna for film buffs right there...
    I'm more interested in Hitchcock's silents than his famous pictures.
    THE 39 STEPS is also one I really like and would single out to anybody to watch.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    HITCHCOCK DIRECTING THE LODGER

    The Lodger (1926) seems a huge leap forward from Hitchcock's more conventional previous picture, the love melodrama The Pleasure Garden (1925). Richly atmospheric and exciting from the first few frames. I'f watched Pleasure Garden and am beginning The Lodger. Not that The Pleasure Garden does not have "some good scenes," as Hitchcock said. Made at UFA Studios in Italy and Germany, The Pleasure Garden also shows the influence of expressionist techniques Hitchcock had observed and admired in Germany, where he had seen part of the making of F.W. Murnau's The Last Laugh and been impressed by it.

    There was a tricky partly mime version of The 39 Steps that played for a year or so on the New York stage recently; I saw it. I've seen the film more than once.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 06-29-2013 at 01:56 PM.

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    The Hitchcock 9


    MILES MANDER AND NITA NALDI IN THE PLEASURE GARDEN - LEVETT AND HIS
    NATIVE MISTRESS


    1926 The Pleasure Garden
    1926 The Lodger
    1927 Downhill
    1927 Easy Virtue
    1927 The Ring
    1928 The Farmer's Wife
    1928 Champagne
    1929 The Manxman
    1929 Blackmail




    Two are lost from this period: the 1922 Number 13 and the 1926 The Mountain Eagle, putatively released in the US as Fear o' God. Downhill's US release title is When Boys Leave Home. Blackmail was made in a sound version which is available on DVD. From the silent Blackmail on, Hitchcock worked on talkies. Other than the silent Blackmail, all these are available on DVD. However I am watching the BFI-initiated restorations, which are not yet available. In addition, The Pleasure Garden is reportedly a major restoration, being a collation of many different copies leading to restored segments. "Major narrative strands and twists have been re-integrated" -BFI note[?] from press kit. The new restorations also preserve the alternating color tints of the films' segments, said to be particularly complex in the case of The Pleasure Garden.

    Restorations by the BFI National Archive in association with STUDIOCANAL. Principal restoration funding provided by The Hollywood Foreign Press Association and The Film Foundation.

    Reviews or discussions of each of these films will be found on the Festival Coverage thread for San Francisco 2013 Silent Film Festival - The Hitchcock 9, beginning HERE.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 06-29-2013 at 06:50 PM.

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    The Hitchcock 9


    CARMELITA GERAGHTY AND KARL FALKENBERG IN
    THE PLEASURE GARDEN


    The Pleasure Garden (Mar. 1926)

    The Pleasure Garden, first remaining Hitchcock silent film, is a conventional love melodrama of the period that focuses on two chorus girls, one frivolous and one serious. As has been pointed out Hitchcock shows visual flair from the start in the way he uses closeups of the chorus girls' legs, and a striking image of a thin stairway. However, the unrolling of the story is often obvious, starting with the combination of a show business beginning and an exotic end.

    The dates given with the titles are the release dates listed in the BFI's basic Hitchcock 9 restorations flyer.

    For the full Filmleaf Festival Coverage review click here.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 06-29-2013 at 02:00 PM.

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    The Hitchcock 9


    IVOR NOVELLO IN THE LODGER

    The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (Sept. 1926)

    Lots of exciting street crowd scenes begin this thirller, which as is always pointed out, not only takes up for the first time Hitchcock's favorite subject of murder, but also includes the other favorite theme of a wronged innocent man, the lodger of the title, who is false accused of being the serial killer, The Avenger, an assassin, never seen, who repeatedly murders pretty blonde young women (another favorite theme) and leaves a note with this moniker with a triangle or delta sign. Unlike future Hitchcock thrillers, however, this film quickly stops focusing on the murders and zeros in on a handsome, apparently well-off young man who mysteriously comes to rent a room where most of the action takes place.

    Full Festival Coverage section review.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 06-29-2013 at 01:47 PM.

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    The Hitchcock 9


    VOR NOVELLO IN DOWNHILL

    Downhill (May 1927)

    The Gainsborough production company wanted Ivor Novello back with Hitchcdock after the success of The Lodger, so Hitchcock adapted Novello's stage play, which he'd written with Constance Collier under the joint nom de plume of David L'Estrange. Though 34, Novello plays the lead role of Roddy Berwick, an outstanding public schoolboy who takes the rap when a pal is accused by a local tuck shop girl of making her pregnant. He's expelled, and when called a liar at home by his wealthy father for denying guilt, leaves home. A downward path follows, symbolized by a shot Hitchcock later thought too obvious of Roddy descending on a long escalator into the depths of the London Underground. Each time he seems abused by a woman, first the accusing tuck shop girl, then a greedy actress he falls for who uses up his inheritance from his godmother and tosses him out, then a nightclub Madam who makes him dance with lonely old women for pennies. A BFI note suggests this may reflect "the experience of Novello himself, a gay matinee idol oppressed by unwanted female attention." It also suggests Roddy is one of Hitch's "vulnerable blond" protagonists subject to his "fetishistic gaze." At least he qualifies as a wronged man, and Novello is an engaging actor to watch.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 06-29-2013 at 06:33 PM.

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    The Hitchcock 9


    THE TRICK MONACLE REFLECTION SHOT IN
    EASY VIRTUE


    Easy Virtue (Aug. 1927)

    In Easy Virtue Hitchcock undertakes the tricky task of making a silent film out of a talky play by Noel Coward. But as the BFI blurb proclaims, "The camera's gaze gave the story a dimension unattainable on stage." Of course different angles -- and location shoots -- are possible to enhance the tale of a woman who, somewhat like Roddy in Hitchcock's previous film Downfall, is an innocent who runs into one trouble after another. But as a matter of fact the images of the film aren't as good as the others, because nothing but scratched prints could be found for the restoration. But that's not all bad, because the early sequences (after the opening courtroom scene) are of a woman getting her portrait painted, and the images of that are so blurry they look like paintings -- not an altogether bad effect. This becomes the story of an innocent's "downfall," much like Hitchcock's previous film, but with settings in a courtroom, in he South of France, and at a posh English country house very far from the humble London surroundings of the greengrocer's son, and deftly handled nonetheless.

    Full Festival Coverage section review.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 06-29-2013 at 01:57 PM.

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    The Hitchcock 9


    CARL BRISSON AS 'ONE ROUND' JACK SANDER IN THE RING

    The Ring (Sept. 1927)

    The Ring features the only Hitchcock screenplay he fully originated. It's a down-and-dirty carnival boxer's tale that's one of his most cinematic and visually rich silents, full of intense chiaroscuro and atmospheric, teeming crowd scenes with dramatic highlighted figures and faces further heightened by being ringed by darkness. (The BFI restoration DVD also has an unusually vivid sound accompaniment, a small jazz group score that fits the whole mood and enhances the scenes.) He may have been more at home here than with the la-de-dah world of the French Riviera and posh English country home life of Noel Coward's play he'd just dealt with in Easy Virtue. But the point is the way he demonstrates his quick adeptness at switching to another genre and milieu for each new film. The Ring is various and satisfying visually, and in contrast simple almost to the point of monotony in its theme. The better to be wordlessly cinematic, communicating with closeups and crosscutting so it often needs no dialogue boxes (which have been simplified, too, divested of their old fashioned frames).

    Full Festival Coverage section review.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 06-29-2013 at 02:00 PM.

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    The Hitchcock 9


    LILLIAN HALL-DAVIS AND JAMESON THOMAS IN THE
    FARMER'S WIFE


    The Farmer's Wife (Mar. 1928)

    "He'll be the next to wed now his daughter's marryin', says the handyman (Gordon Harker) after Farmer Sweetland's wife dies. "Why not? There's something magical in the married state. . . it have a beautiful side, Churdles Ash," answers Minta, the housekeeper (Lillian Hall-Davis). From a popular play, by Eden Phillpotts, Hitchcock's The Farmer's Wife is a broad comedy, with elements of the grotesque, about just this: a middle aged English country farmer whose wife has recently died decides upon the marriage of his daughter to seek another wife for himself. This may not seem at all a Hitchcockian theme, and the new direction may owe something to the director's having recently (with The Ring) joined the new production studio British International Pictures, moving from Gainsborough. But if we look at "Hitchcock's basic plot formations" as listed by Robin Wood, 1. the falsely accused man, 2. the guilty woman, 3. the psychopath, 4. espionage & political intrigue, 5. marriage, there marriage is, number five.

    Read the full review in the Filmleaf Festival Coverage section.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 06-29-2013 at 02:01 PM.

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    The Hitchcock 9


    BETTY BALFOUR IN CHAMPAGNE

    Champagne (Aug. 1928)

    Champagne is a film slim in emotional content but vibrant with the frivolity of the Jazz Age and tinged with a hint of the coming Great Depression. It's about a rich playgirl whose father decides to teach her a lesson while she's playing around abroad by pretending to have gone bankrupt. The story line is slight, but provides much opportunity for scenes of partying, dancing, drinking; of the interiors of a luxury liner and a big night club packed with people dancing; of a lively girl posing in a succession of gay frocks; and of dashing men in evening clothes. Gordon Harker, who played the glum-faced trainer in The Ring and the eccentric, slapstick handyman in The Farmer's Wife, shows his versatility by playing the millionaire father in Champagne, where he looks somewhat like the car magnate, Henry Ford. The frizzy-haired Betty Balfour plays the spoiled heiress, and there are two other principals, the French actor Jean Bradin as "The Boy," her tall, impeccable boyfriend, and Ferdinand von Alten as "The Man," a mysterious mustachioed Hercule Poirot type who seems to haunt the girl wherever she goes.

    Read the full review in the Filmleaf Festival Coverage section.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-02-2013 at 11:25 PM.

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    The Hitchcock 9



    The Manxman (Jan. 1929)

    "Adapted from the famous story by Sir Hall Caine," the opening title proclaims. Another topic designed to be easily grasped by the popular audience that devoured several new movies every week, The Manxman is about a fisherman and a rising young lawyer, who grew up "as brothers," and as adults, as the story begins, fall in love with the same girl, which leads to tragedy. The origins of their friendship are never explained as they are in the book, and the credibility of their remaining friends while being so different as adults is only somewhat artificially established by having them cooperate in the opening minutes in a legal campaign to maintain free trawling rights for the local herring fishermen. The theme seems heavily sentimental and manipulative, a doomed situation with much room for torment and confusion but no surprises, and few of the flourishes Hitchcock was capable of. Not surprisingly, he said he was not happy with this picture, though it was nonetheless a critical success, if undercut at the box office by the rapid rise of talkies.

    Read the full Filmleaf Festival Coverage review of The Manxman.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-02-2013 at 11:26 PM.

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    The Hitchcock 9



    Blackmail (Aug. 1929)

    With Blackmail we have a full-fledged twisty Hitchcock crime thriller. He must have had fun with this one; no wonder he did both a silent and a sound version. There are many ingenious visual moments, including not just one but two cameos by Hitch himself. There's a whole string of notable set pieces, including an opening "police procedural," an entrapment-murder, and a grand scene of small figures chasing around on a dome over the city of London.

    Blackmail was adapted from a play by Charles Bennett. And it provides good material.

    The Hitchcock 9 restorations by the British Film Institute were scheduled partly to coincide with the London Olympics, and this film was shown al fresco outside the British Museum, especially appropriate since the movie's climactic set piece takes place in the British Museum itself. This screening was accompanied by a new score by composer Neil Brand and performed by the Thames Sinfonia. (Unfortunately the BFI DVD from the SF Silent Film Festival has no accompaniment.) Hitchcoock simultaneously made a silent and sound version of this film.

    Read the full Filmleaf Festival Coverage review of Blackmail.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 06-30-2013 at 09:11 PM.

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    You're on fire Chris.

    Amazing posts. Many thanks.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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    You're welcome; my pleasure truly. It has been and still is a great experience to see these as a group and to witness the budding genius of the man.

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