Dubbed the "Master of Suspense", Alfred Hitchcock applied his Midas touch to turn crime into a form of entertainment. Until recently, film researchers looked back only as far as his 1930s talkies to probe his psychological acuity, but in fact the biggest clues to Hitchcock's success lie in his silent movies from the 1920s.
The Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA)'s "Restored Treasures: Captivating Hitchcock Silents" series will screen six of his recently restored and captivating silents from today (August 4) to January next year. The opening ceremony of the programme was held today at the HKFA. The guests included the Head of the HKFA, Mr Richie Lam; the Deputy Director of the British Council, Mr Kevin McLaven; and the Head Curator of the British Film Institute (BFI), Mr Robin Baker.
Mr Baker also hosted the seminar "The Hitchcock 9 Project" at the HKFA today to share with the audience the challenges faced during the restoration of Hitchcock silents. Restoration work at the BFI has been a huge task, and the BFI restoration team has extensively researched Hitchcock's extant silents and recently restored the surviving films to their former glory. Film reels preserved at the BFI, some made from unstable and highly flammable nitrate film stock, together with materials sourced from other international archives, were meticulously checked, repaired and digitally captured shot by shot for editing and restoration, resulting in vivid, crisp and vibrant versions for audiences' enjoyment.
"Restored Treasures: Captivating Hitchcock Silents" is presented by the HKFA, while the British Council is the programme's Partner Organisation and the screenings are courtesy of the BFI. The films being featured are "The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog" (1926), described by the director as "the first true Hitchcock film"; "Downhill" (1927), fleshing out a melodramatic script with minimal title cards and preferring to engage in imaginary play with brilliant visual narratives; "The Ring" (1927), which features Hitchcock's one and only original screenplay and stunning montages; "Champagne" (1928), channelling the director's penchant for humour; "The Manxman" (1929), the most accomplished silent film Hitchcock directed before making the transition to talkies; and "Blackmail" (1929), Hitchcock's last silent.
"The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog", "Downhill" and "The Ring" will be screened in DCP (Digital Cinema Package) format with music score. "Champagne", "The Manxman" and "Blackmail" will be screened in 35mm format with live music accompaniment. All silents have English intertitles.
Film critics Thomas Shin, Matthew Cheng, William Cheung, Lau Yam, Mary Wong and Wong Ain-ling will share their views with the audience at post-screening talks at various screenings. The talks will be conducted in Cantonese and admission is free.
Tickets for "The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog", "Downhill" and "The Ring" are now available at URBTIX while tickets for other films will be available from October 3 onwards. Tickets are priced at $50. Half-price concessionary tickets are available for senior citizens aged 60 and above, people with disabilities and their minders, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. Credit card bookings can be made on 2111 5999, or on the Internet at www.urbtix.hk .
Detailed programme information can be found in "ProFolio 68", which is distributed at all performing venues of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. For enquiries, please call 2739 2139 or 2734 2900, or browse the webpage: www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/CulturalService/filmprog/english/2011rt3/2011rt3_film.html .
Ends/Sunday, August 4, 2013
Issued at HKT 17:32
The Head of the Hong Kong Film Archive, Mr Richie Lam (centre) presents souvenirs to the Deputy Director of the British Council, Mr Kevin McLaven (left) and the Head Curator of the British Film Institute, Mr Robin Baker (right) at the opening ceremony today (August 4).
Mr Robin Baker shares experiences of restoration work at the seminar "The Hitchcock 9 Project".
A film still of "The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog" (1926).
A film still of "Downhill" (1927).
A film still of "The Ring" (1927).
A film still of "Champagne" (1928).
A film still of "The Manxman" (1929).
A film still of "Blackmail" (1929).