Thank you to
Film Schedule November 2014
The restoration of all of Alfred Hitchcock’s nine surviving silent films has been one of the most complex film restoration projects in history and the biggest undertaken by the BFI National Archive.
Film restorers removed decades of damage and wear; the sharpness of the image was improved; new shots discovered and reinserted and intertitles and tinting restored to original intentions.
The BFI used film elements borrowed from seven international archives in the restoration process but materials from the BFI National Archive—including a number of original negatives—have been central to the project.
November 1 7pm
Blackmail 1929 75min
Anny Ondra, John Longden, Cyril Ritchard
Hitchcock’s final silent film is one of the best British films, if not the best, of the late 1920s. Made during the transition period to the sound era, it was commissioned as both a silent and as a part –talkie with recorded music and some dialogue scenes. Czech film actress Anny Ondra stars as Alice White, a young woman whose brief flirtation with an artist turns suddenly and terribly sour…Hitchcock’s masterly thriller boasts incredible London locations including the thrilling finale at the British Museum.
Restoration notes: A combination of wet and dry scanning has maximised image resolution while minimising the appearance of surface damage.
Restoration Credits: BFI National Archive in association with STUDIOCANAL. Principal restoration funding provided by The Hollywood Foreign Press Assoc. and The Film Foundation. Additional funding provided by Deluxe 142, Pia Getty, Col & Karen Needham, and the Dr. Mortimer & Theresa Sackler Foundation.
Live accompaniment: Laura Silberberg
November 2 2pm
The Pleasure Garden 1926 90min
Virginia Valli. Miles Mander, Carlotta Geraghty. John Stuart
Hitchcock’s first film as director demonstrates many of his obsessions from the first frame onwards—a cascade of chorus girls’ legs tripping down a spiral staircase. A melodrama complete with apparitions, exotic locations and a sojourn in Italy, this is also the first of Hitchcock’s many films about a woman marrying—to perilous effect—a man she doesn’t really know.
Using five different sources, the BFI has been able to replace missing scenes thus improving the flow and meaning of the narrative as well as reapplying the original tinting scheme.
Restoration Credits: A restoration by the BFI National Archives in association with ITV Studios Global Entertainment and Park Circus Films. Principal restoration funded by The Hollywood Foreign Press Association and The Film Foundation, and Matt Spick. Additional funding provided by Deluxe 142
Live accompaniment: Laura Silberberg
November 2 4:15
Downhill 1927 105min
Ivor Novello, Isabel Jeans, Ian Hunter, Robin Irvine
The darkest of Hitchcock’s early films, Downhill follows the fall from grace of a public schoolboy who is expelled for getting a girl pregnant and subsequently disowned by his father. An early example not only of Hitchcock’s interest in guilt and its transference, but of his highly ambivalent attitude to family life, this is a deceptively rich and often elegant work.
The film material held at the BFI National Archive had only previously been available in black and white. The BFI restored the tints and tone and greatly improved the image quality, with access to a nitrate print held at the EYE Film Institute.
Restoration Credits: A restoration by the BFI National Archives in association with ITV Studios Global Entertainment and Park Circus Films. Principal restoration funding provided by Simon W Hessel. Additional funding provided by Deluxe 142 & The Headley Trust.
This film will be screened with the recorded piano score by composer and musician John Sweeney that was commissioned for the restoration.
November 7 7pm
Champagne 1928 105min
Betty Balfour, Gordon Harker, Ferdinand von Alten
This romantic comedy-
There was only one source for this film, an original negative from which all surviving prints have been made. Some improvements have been made to continuity, dissolves have been re-
Live accompaniment: Bill O'Meara
November 8 1:30pm
The Farmer’s Wife 1928 107min
Jameson Thomas, Lillian Hall-
A charming, deftly-
"Often very funny, the film is directed with great subtlety, particularly in the two virtuoso party scenes, Hitchcock’s use of long takes and his meticulous choreography of a large group of actors work wonders." Geoff Andrew
After an international search, the earliest available sources for the film have been established as two preservation intermediates made from the camera negative in the 1960s. After careful consideration, the best sections have been scanned from both to form the basis of the restoration.
Live accompaniment: Bill O'Meara
November 8 4:15pm
The Ring 1927 108min
Carl Brisson, Lillian Hall-
A love triangle drama set in the world of boxing; this was Hitchcock’s one and only original screenplay and one of his finest silent films. When boxer Bob Corby hires Jack Sander to be his sparring partner, he has no idea that he will become smitten with Mabel, Jack’s beautiful wife. The conflict between the two men gives rise to the inventive series of expressionist flourishes evoking the character’s states of mind. Exhilaratingly bold, filmmaking.
The restoration process has worked hard to minimise the effects of film shrinkage through a combination of careful grading and much manual restoration work. New titles cards were remade using a new hand-
This film will be screened using the recorded score by composer and musician Soweto Kinch that was commissioned for this restoration.
British jazz star Kinchs score is a huge audience-
November 15 2pm
Easy Virtue 1927 70min
Isabel Jeans, Franklyn Dyall, Ian Hunter, Robin Irvine
"As adapted by Eliot Stannard, who scripted most of Hitchcock’s silent films, Noel Coward’s play becomes a study of the corrosive effects of being judged guilty by society, even if—as in the case of Laurita Filton, charged with infidelity by her drunkard husband—one is really innocent. Hitchcock’s handling of flashbacks shows impressive narrative flair, as does his frequently imaginative play with point of view" -
The most problematic of all the Hitchcock restorations, Easy Virtue has only survived in a poor quality, abridged 16mm print. The BFI has selected the best source and inserted several shots from a second sosurces where appropriate in order to improve quality.
Live accompaniment: Jordan Klapman
November 15 4:15pm
The Manxman 1929 100 min
Carl Brisson, Malcolm Keen, Anny Ondra
"Set in a remote Isle of Man fishing community (but shot in Cornwall), Hitchcock’s penultimate silent feature is one of the best and most mature works of his early career. The story follows two boyhood friends who take markedly different paths in adulthood: one becomes a fisherman, the other a lawyer, but both fall in love with the same woman—a complex, sensual performance from Anny Ondra, part vulnerable waif, part flirtatious femme fatale—and clearly the reason Hitch cast her in his suspense masterpiece Blackmail later that year."-
Careful attention has been paid to the film’s delicate photography so that it can be reproduced on new film prints, in digital cinema presentations and HD. Three source elements were used to reconstruct the film-
Live accompaniment: Fern Lindzon
November 16 1:30pm
The Lodger 1926 90min
Ivor Novello, June, Marie Ault, Malcolm Keen
Described by Hitchcock himself as "the first true Hitchcock movie", this masterly silent thriller is set in a fog-
Several hundred hours were spent on the removal and repair of dirt and damage. The original tinting and toning were reproduced via digital image systems and particular attention was paid to the night-
This film will be screened using the recorded orchestral score by composer and musician Nitin Sawhney that was commissioned for this restoration.
"Sawhney’s lush, swooning score creates a highly emotive soundtrack to Hitchcock’s best known silent films. At times deeply romantic, at others underlining an almost unbearable sense of tension and impending doom, this terrific orchestral score draws upon a wide range of influences—including 1920s jazz—to create a work that is contemporary and distinctive".-