Sight and Sound (2012) - The Hitchcock nine
- article: The Hitchcock nine
- author(s): Bryony Dixon
- journal: Sight and Sound (01/Aug/2012)
- issue: volume 22, issue 8, page 43
- journal ISSN: 0037-4806
- publisher: Tower Publishing Services
- keywords: "39 Steps to the Genius of Hitchcock" - edited by James Bell, Alfred Hitchcock, Blackmail (1929), British International Pictures, Bryony Dixon, Champagne (1928), Charles Barr, Collections, Downhill (1927), Easy Virtue (1928), Filmmakers, Gainsborough Pictures, Motion picture directors & producers, Motion pictures, Protection and preservation, Renovation & restoration, Silent films, The Farmer's Wife (1928), The Genius of Hitchcock (BFI), The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927), The Manxman (1929), The Mountain Eagle (1926), The Pleasure Garden (1925), The Ring (1927), Works
Celebrated for his artistry and loved for his ability to entertain, British film industry icon director Alfred Hitchcock represents the perfect synthesis of the artistic and the commercial. He made ten silent movies, of which all but one survive. Now at last they can be seen again in their full glory. Here, Dixon shares the painstaking process of restoring the works of Hitchcock.
THE HITCHCOCK NINE
Alfred Hitchcock made ten silent movies, of which all but one survive. Now at last they can be seen again in their full glory. Bryony Dixon of the BFI National Archive takes us through the painstaking restoration process
Alfred Hitchcock bestrides the world of film like a colossus. Celebrated for his artistry and loved for his ability to entertain, he represents the perfect synthesis of the artistic and the commercial. It's a nice fit for the BFI, which has always sought to bridge the industry and the art of the film. So who better than Hitchcock to serve as the focus for our contribution to the 2012 Cultural Olympiad?
When asked how the BFI - along with the other national institutions - would mark this occasion, we reached for our great icons. Who were our equivalents of Shakespeare, Dickens or Turner - our 'old masters'? The name Hitchcock was at the top of the list. He is our most famous filmmaker, a director of huge international standing who had a long career in Britain and resolutely retained his Britishness while working in the US. What's more, he was born in East London, just a couple of tube stops from the new Olympic Stadium. But how to celebrate the man's achievement and bring something new to the audiences of 2012?
Alongside other BFI projects - 'The Genius of Hitchcock' season and the new book 39 Steps to the Genius of Hitchcock - here was the opportunity to fulfil a long-standing desire on the part of the BFI National Archive to restore Hitchcock's nine surviving silent films. Why these nine in particular? Charles Barr, writing in the above-mentioned publication, puts it very succinctly: "From today's perspective, they (the silent films] have a double interest:...