The lost Alfred Hitchcock film, “The White Shadow”, was found in New Zealand by the National Film Preservation Foundation. It’s the earliest known feature film to Hitchcock’s credit. One wonders, was some foundation intern putzing around the archives and just happened to see this old dusty film and wondered, Hey, what the fuck is this? Then played it for himself in some quiet dusty room with a bottle of select wine…and then out of his drunken stupor thought, “I better tell someone.” ?
In any case, the silent melodrama stars Betty Compson in a dual role as twin sisters, one quite the lovely charmer, the other touted as “without a soul”.
Annette Melville, Foundation director, says: “At the time, people said the plot was improbable. I’m putting a polite spin on it. Many siad it was ridiculous. It’s a totally crazy, zany plot with soul migration back and forth and all these improbable meetings.”
The restored print of the movie will be shown September 22 at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater at Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills. More here.