Alfred Hitchcock made many movies, including classics like "Psycho" and "Rear Window." Now, one of the first movies he worked on has just been discovered in New Zealand.
The 1923 British film credits Hitchcock as being the writer, assistant director, editor and production designer to the Graham Cutts-directed project.
Cutts was a British film director who made more than two dozen films in the 1920s and 1930s.
The finding sheds more light into the early years of Hitchcock, who was 24 when "The White Shadow" was made.
"He was a creative young man who had already done some writing. We know the kind of creative personality he had when he was young and we know a few years later he started directing movies himself. What we don't know is how these things were coalescing in his imagination," author David Sterritt told the L.A. Times. Sterritt is the chairman of the National Society of Film Critics and author of "The Films of Alfred Hitchcock."
"The White Shadow" starred American actress Betty Compton and British stars Clive Brook and Henry Victor. Compton played twin sisters in a plot line driven by mysterious disappearances, romance and steamy cabarets, the National Film Preservation noted.
The New Zealand Film Archive has had the film since 1989, unaware of its content since it was part of a collection of unidentified American nitrate prints. In 2011 the Film Archive received funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, giving the organization more resources, like hiring nitrate expert Leslie Lewis.
"'White Shadow' was initially labeled 'Twin Sisters' . . . I realized that this was more like a film that Hitchcock worked on. I went to their archives the next day and used their research to pull out some contemporary reviews and summaries and confirmed it was 'White Shadow," Lewis told the L.A. Times.
Three reels of "The White Shadow" were uncovered in the process.
Hitchcock, who died in 1980, is perhaps most famous pioneering filmmaking in the suspense and psychological thriller genres. Sixteen of his films, including "Rebecca," "Spellbound" and "Psycho," were nominated for Academy Awards. However, Hitchcock himself never won any of the five Best Director Oscar nominations he received during his illustrious career.
A showing of "The White Shadow" has been scheduled for Sept. 22 at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Los Angeles.