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The Guardian (11/Jul/2013) - Alfred Hitchcock silent films added to Unesco register




Alfred Hitchcock silent films added to Unesco register

Nine of director's early films join archive of cultural treasures that includes Domesday book

All nine of Alfred Hitchcock's surviving silent films, dating between 1925 and 1929, have been added to the UK's section of theUnesco Memory of the World register to "safeguard the documentary heritage of humanity".

The films' three-year restoration was marked by a screening at the British Film Institute (BFI) last summer. Among the films is The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog, which was Hitchcock's first major success, about a serial killer in London, society comedy Champagne, and The Ring, Hitchcock's only original screenplay. Blackmail is also included, which was released in 1929 with both sound and silent versions.

Unesco is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. Its website explains the addition to their roster by describing the Hitchcock films as "among the greatest achievements of British silent cinema" and "blueprints for the rest of his body of work".

The head curator of the BFI National Archive, Robin Baker, said: "The BFI National Archive's painstaking restorations are attracting not only new audiences around the world but the acclaim of the international community as important works of world cultural note.

"We are very pleased to see that the early films from one of the world's best-known film-makers are taking their place alongside some of the greatest cultural artefacts in the United Kingdom."

Other UK additions to the Memory of the World Register this year include the Domesday Book and London second-world-war bomb-damage maps.