Hitchcock from the archive: BFI releases five exclusive online films about the director


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The Independent Culture

Hitchcock is famous for films such as Psycho, The 39 Steps and Birds, but he is less well known for his first film, silent picture The Pleasure Garden.

With the release of Hitchcock this week, the BFI is showing a series of short films online that give context to the Master of Suspense and his early work.

The five shorts centre around Hitchcock’s first film, a 1925 melodrama he directed aged just 25. Typical Hitchcockian motifs such as a fascination with staircases, the act of voyeurism and the use of dogs as a moral compass can be found in The Pleasure Garden even at this early stage of his career.

In the first short, Hitchcock from the Archive, the director talks candidly to Tony Bilbow in an edition of the BBC’s Late Night Line-Up about stars' salaries, the difficulties of working with well-known actors and why his pursuit of realism meant he never wanted to make a Western or period drama.

Fans can also watch Restoring the Pleasure Garden, a remastered version of Hitchcock’s first film that has been digitally restored to show the picture’s original tones and tints. The version is “far more compelling, far more narratively cohesive, and so much more engaging”, according to the BFI’s head curator Robin Baker.

In 2011 the BFI commissioned 23-year-old composer Daniel Patrick Cohen to create a new score for the 1925 film. Scoring the Pleasure Garden follows Cohen, a fan of Hitchcock and Bernard Herman- the director’s long term collaborator and favourite composer- as he sets about creating the new soundtrack.

The five short films are available to watch for free on The Space, an on-demand digital arts service developed by Arts Council England in partnership with the BBC.

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