After the BFI’s extensive tribute to Alfred Hitchcock over the summer and the immaculate restorations of his silent films, you might have thought the great director had nothing else to give. But now, and for the next two months, the first film on which Hitchcock received a screen credit, The White Shadow (1924, above), is available as an online premiere (go to the National Film Preservation Foundation here). The director was Graham Cutts, and in fact only some 42 minutes of the film have been recovered, but these make a rich and remarkable offering, on which Hitch was assistant director, screenwriter, art director and editor. For discussions of the film and its discovery in the New Zealand Film Archive together with background as to why it is online, see David Steritt’s excellent programme notes accompanying the stream (on the right of the page) and a valuable post from ferdyonfilms.
Across the jump, more Hitchcock, lots more film links and other good stuff. Note, too, that I have now divided what was becoming a ridiculously long list into two parts – the second is here, along with an explanation. Hat-tips this week to, among others, @jonahweiner, @emmafgreen, @KeyframeDaily, @jayrosen_nyu, @matlock and @jmittell.
• All the essential documentaries about Alfred Hitchcock: a remarkable tumblr collection of just exactly what the title says from Cinephilia and beyond.
• The joys of media studies: terrific piece by Michael Dwyer that builds to this conclusion, ‘Critique can coexist and contest with consumption, and even cooperate with it.’
• Acting, anti-celebrity, masculinity – Denzel just does it: exemplifying the substance of the link above, Anne Helen Petersen is as good as ever on ‘the biggest star you know the littlest about’, Denzel Washington.
• How the Bond franchise almost died: if you read one more piece about Skyfall, Sam and the rest, make it Stephen Galloway’s for The Hollywood Reporter….
• ‘Like a western, not an action movie’: … except that you also need to read this one (by Matt Patches for Hollywood.com) which is the best piece I’ve seen with Roger Deakins talking about his stupendous Skyfall cinematography.
• Guru interview with Barry Ackroyd: Quentin Falk talks with the famed cinematographer of The Hurt Lockerand much great British television: ‘documentary isn’t always fact, and fiction isn’t always make believe’.
• How accurate is Argo?: I liked Ben Affleck’s tale of the Iranian hostages a lot – and only a little less after reading David Haglund’s piece for Slate’s Browbeat about the movie’s ‘white lies and dramatic whoppers’; incidentally Wired’s great piece by Joshuah Bearman on which the film is based is available here.
• Return to Paranormalcy: David Bordwell on repetition and innovation in the formal devices of the Paranormal franchise.
• Run Wrake, 1965-2012: Gary Thomas contributes to Sight & Sound an appropriately admiring obituary of the brilliant British animator.
• Looking beyond documentary to face truths: interesting New York Times article by Mike Hale about the documentary films made by Shohei Imamura; linked to a season at Anthology Film Archives in New York.
• Documentary expressionism – the films of William Klein: Tate Modern has just begun a wonderful season of Klein’s rarely-screened films, and this 1989 essay by Jonathan Rosenbaum is an elightening accompaniment.
• Peter Greenaway – ‘I plan to kill myself when I’m 80’: Xan Brooks for the Guardian with the artist and filmmaker (at just 70) speaking about why ‘new technology must get into bed with lechery’.
• 9 mind-blowing technologies changing the film industry’s future: a neat round up from Michelle Lehooq at The Creators Project.
• Tuning in on the first days of broadcasting: a terrific post by curator Paul Wilson for the Sound Recordings blog at The British Library about a ‘listening log’ recording responses to the very first radio broadcasts by the BBC 90 years ago.
• Time for a rethink – rebuilding a digital BBC: members of the BBC Trust as well as the rest of us would do well to read Alex Balfour’s thoughts about how the decision on the DG could shape a radically different kind of corporation.
• Schakaler und Arabe: quite often I try to find a video that might leave you exiting this column with a smile on your face – not this week, however – for this is a recent short by revered experimental filmmaker Jean-Marie Straub – it’s a remarkable and radical and undeniably challenging condensation of and comment on a Franz Kafka short story…
• While the band played on: but I don’t really think we can end on Straub-Kafka, so here is the new post from Adam Curtis, which is a brilliant and wonderfully entertaining demonstration of the power of music in films not to mention the joys of filmed dance.