Academy unveils Hitchcock's rediscovered "The White Shadow"


The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences will present the American re-premiere of the first three reels of “The White Shadow” on Thursday, September 22, at 7:30 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

As the latest presentation in a screening series of archival rediscoveries un-spooling under the banner “Lost and Found,” the Academy presents the American re-premiere of the first three reels of “The White Shadow,” which was shown in the U.S. in 1924 as “White Shadows.” Believed for decades to be lost, the picture is thought to be the earliest surviving feature film work of Alfred Hitchcock.

“This is one of the most significant developments in memory for scholars, critics, and admirers of Hitchcock’s extraordinary body of work,” said David Sterritt, chairman of the National Society of Film Critics and author of The Films of Alfred Hitchcock. “What we are getting is the missing link…
At just 24 years old, Alfred Hitchcock wrote the film’s scenario, designed the sets, edited the footage, and served as assistant director to Graham Cutts… Hitchcock’s own directorial debut came only two years later. These first three reels (thirty minutes) of ‘The White Shadow’ – more than half the film – offer a priceless opportunity to study his visual and narrative ideas when they were first taking shape,” continued Sterritt.

The tinted print of “The White Shadow,” which is an atmospheric melodrama starring Betty Compson in a dual role as twin sisters, one angelic and the other “without a soul,” was discovered during the National Film Preservation Foundation’s second round of research to identify American prints of early films held at the New Zealand Film Archive. It was among the many silent-era movies salvaged by New Zealand projectionist and collector Jack Murtagh. After his death in 1989, the highly flammable nitrate prints were sent to the New Zealand Film Archive for safekeeping by Tony Osborne, Murtagh’s grandson.

“The White Shadow” is among the “lost” films from the New Zealand Film Archive being preserved and accessed through the five major American film archives that are collaborating with the NFPF on the project: the Academy Film Archive, George Eastman House, the Library of Congress, the Museum of Modern Art, and UCLA Film & Television Archive. The title is being preserved at Park Road Post Production in New Zealand and the new preservation master and exhibition print will be added to the Academy Film Archive’s permanent collection.

“The White Shadows” original color tints will be reproduced in the new preservation master and prints prepared by Park Road Post Production in New Zealand. (

The evening’s presentation will include a screening of “Won in a Closet” (1914), a film starring and directed by Mabel Normand, and “Oil’s Well,” a Monty Banks comedy. Both films were part of the New Zealand Film Archive collection and have now been added to the collection of the Library of Congress and the Museum of Modern Art, respectively. Michael Mortilla will provide live musical accompaniment.

The White Shadows was a British film released in the U.S. in 1924 by Lewis J. Selznick Enterprises. Selznick’s son, producer David O. Selznick, later brought Hitchcock to America to make ‘Rebecca.’”

For ticket information go to
$5 general admission/$3 Academy members and students with a valid ID.
On sale now online, by mail and in person at the Academy Box Office.


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Robin Menken

Robin Menken Robin Menken lives in Los Angeles. She was the Artistic Director of the Second City Workshops, taught at UC Berkeley, USC, Barcelona\'s Ateneu and the Esalin Institute. She was Roberto Rossellini\'s assistant, and worked with Yevgeny Vevteshenku, Glauber Rocha and Eugene Ionesco. She sold numerous screenplays and wrote the OBIE winning The FTA SHow (touring with Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland and Ben Vereen.) She was a programming consultant and Special Events co-ordinator for numerous film festivals, including the SF, Rio, Havana and N.Y Film Festivals. Her first news outlet was the historic East Village Other.

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