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The Missing Hitchcocks

"The Missing Hitchcocks" (also "The Lost Hitchcocks" or "The Five Hitchcocks") was the name given to five films to which Hitchcock owned the distribution rights.

The films were less frequently distributed to cinemas or shown on television than the director's other films. For example, Rear Window was withdrawn from circulation in 1968 and remained unseen until 1983.[1]

With the exception of Rope — which Hitchcock held the rights to via Transatlantic Pictures — the films were transferred to the director under the terms of his contact with Paramount.[2]

Following Hitchcock's death in 1980, the rights transferred to his daughter Patricia. Universal then negotiated for the distribution rights for a reported $6m and began a series of cinema re-releases and home video releases.

Literary agent Sheldon Abend, who had acquired the rights to Cornell Woolrich's short story It Had To Be Murder, took legal action against Patricia Hitchcock and James Stewart over the profits they received from the re-release of Rear Window. Abend had bought the rights from Woolrich's estate for $650 following the writer's death in 1968 and argued that the the film infringed his copyright. After an appeal, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of Abend.[3][4][5]

Both Vertigo and Rear Window underwent restorations by Robert A. Harris and James C. Katz in the 1990s, financed by Universal.


See Also...

Notes & References

  1. American Cinematographer (1990) - Hitchcock's Techniques Tell Rear Window Story
  2. The Times (15/Nov/1983) - Return of the missing Hitchcocks
  3. Vancouver Sun (10/Jan/1990) - The story's the thing, court told: Rear Window legal fight no open-and-shut case
  4. The Washington Post (25/Apr/1990) - Hitchcock Film Must Split Profit
  5. St. Petersburg Times (19/May/1990) - Court rules for artists, against film owners