During their average, everyday pastime of digging through “highly unstable nitrate material,” the National Film Preservation Foundation and the New Zealand Film Archive have discovered the first half-hour of The White Shadow, a 1923 British melodrama about
a white basketball coach who teaches minorities self-respect twin sisters—one “angelic,” one evil—on which a 24-year-old Alfred Hitchcock served as writer, assistant director, editor, and production designer. The long-lost movie is considered to be Hitchcock’s earliest feature-film credit, where he served under the direction of Graham Cutts—a filmmaker described as a “hack” by National Society of Film Critics chairman David Sterritt, both a Hitchcock expert and a critic who definitely knows how to put a filmmaker in his place, even a dead one.
White Shadow was found hiding in the same cache of unidentified prints that previously yielded John Ford’s similarly lost 1927 effort Upstream, and is now also on its way toward restoration and a September 22 screening at L.A.’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater. According to Foundation Director Annette Melville, the film is “ridiculous… a totally crazy, zany plot with soul migration back and forth, and all these improbable meetings,” which sounds like maybe a good double bill with The Change-Up. [via Los Angeles Times]