The Los Angeles Times is reporting that a previously unknown film by Alfred Hitchcock has been discovered in a New Zealand archive. The silent film, The White Shadow, is reported to be Hitchcock's first. At the age of 24, he served as the film's writer, assistant director, editor and production designer. It remained undiscovered for so long because it was mislabeled.
From the article...
"White Shadow" was discovered in a collection of unidentified American nitrate prints that had been safeguarded at the New Zealand archive since 1989.
Last year, the National Film Preservation Foundation, the nonprofit charitable affiliate of the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress, received a grant to send an archivist down to the New Zealand archive to check out the American films in the collection. Some 75 features, shorts, newsreels and fragments were discovered last year and divided up between the academy's archive, the UCLA Film & Television Archive, the Library of Congress, the George Eastman House and the Museum of Modern Art. The biggest find in that cache was the 1927 John Ford film "Upstream," which was screened at the academy last year.
This year, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which funded the first trip, gave the NFPF more funds to check out what was left.
The archivist had to piece together several mismatched reels and do some detective work to narrow it down, but the result is equivalent to a lost Hitchcock demo tape, an early glimpse into the still-developing mind of a genius.
The film will re-premiere on Thursday, Sept. 22, at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater.