A 1923 film by the then 24-year-old Alfred Hitchcock was thought lost until three reels were discovered in early August in a New Zealand shed. Hitchcock wrote the scripts, designed the sets and edited the footage himself. The print was repaired by Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings) and is available to be streamed free for the next two months at the National Film Preservation Foundation.
The British film stars Betty Compson as twin sisters, one angelic and the other “without a soul.” After it was unearthed, it played before audiences at special screenings in New York, Washington and at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles last year.
“Watching the surviving reels of The White Shadow with an audience vividly illustrates the natural gifts of the young Hitchcock as well as the enduring power of silent cinema,” said David Sterritt, chairman of the National Society of Film Critics.
“When the film comes to a halt in the middle of a bravura staircase shot, you’re likely to hear an audible sigh of disappointment from those around you, and from yourself as well.” THR