Aug 11, 2010

The Preservation of Alfred

Today the IMDB showcased an interesting link to the website for the BFI, which is canvassing for donations to preserve the nine extant silent films of Sir Alfred Hitchcock.

Those films are:
-The Pleasure Garden (1925)
-The Lodger (1926)
-The Ring (1927)
-Downhill (1927)
-Easy Virtue (1927)
-The Farmers Wife (1927)
-Champagne (1928)
-The Manxman (1929)
-Blackmail (1929)

Surely all work must be preserved for future generations, but this group of films obviously is especially significant, as they are the seeds of the career of one of cinema's most influential directors.

What few of these I have seen have generally been in subpar transfers, and surely could benefit from restoration so we can witness them in their intended original glory. One of his major earlier films, The Lodger, has especially been hard to see in good condition. Blackmail is also of note, as it was England's first sound picture. Like many films around that time it was shot simultaneously in sound and silent versions.

I'm probably preaching to the converted already on this journal, but restoration is not only an essential thing to preserve our film heritage for all time, but it is also a costly one. I remember when the late Stan Brakhage did a show here in 2000, he lamented that he needed $30,000 to restore his own Anticipation of the Night, and that price tag was just for a short!

You can donate right now to the BFI at this link.

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