From August to October 2012, the BFI presents a major celebration of the most influential and iconic British film director of all time, Alfred Hitchcock, featuring his newly restored silent masterpieces. Three were lent by EYE.
Two years ago the BFI National Archive began a major fundraising campaign - Rescue the Hitchcock 9 - in support of the full restoration of the director’s nine surviving silent films. The development of Hitchcock’s work during the silent era is crucial to an understanding of his filmmaking style, but none of the titles had benefited from full archival restoration in the digital age.
Now, thanks to the generous support of the BFI Members, hundreds of Hitchcock fans, trusts and foundations, corporate partners, rights-holders and archives around the world, we can look upon these films afresh.
EYE Film Institute Netherlands has lent two nitrate prints to this restoration project (The Pleasure Garden and Downhill), in addition to a 16mm print of Easy Virtue.
The Dutch print of The Pleasure Garden contains much unique footage, not seen for many years, and was crucial in providing the key which allowed the BFI restoration team to understand how the material in all the source prints overlapped and could be reconstructed. The print, though extremely fragile, carried images of very high quality and demonstrated the strength of the original photography. The Dutch print is used together with other copies from France and the US, as well as the BFI to reconstruct The Pleasure Garden. This film was Alfred Hitchcock's directorial debut , made when he was 25, and tells about the love lives of two dancers at a London nightspot.
The world premiere of the new restoration is scheduled to take place in London on Thursday 28 June 2012 (to be repeated on Friday 29 June 2012; both screenings are fully booked), with a specially commissioned score by Daniel Patrick Cohen, performed live by Royal Academy of Music Manson Ensemble.
The EYE's print of Downhill is testament to the incredible life of nitrate film when carefully preserved, and it is in particular, a very vivid record of the film's tints and tones. Augmented by sections from two nitrate prints in the BFI National Archive, the Dutch print will allow the reconstruction of the film as fully as possible.
The nine silent Hitchcock’s are:
The Pleasure Garden (1926)
The Lodger (1926)
The Ring (1927)
Easy Virtue (1927)
The Farmers Wife (1928)h
The Manxman (1929)