Rescue the Hitchcock 9

The BFI is appealing for donations to fund the restoration of nine of Alfred Hitchcock's silent films: The Pleasure Garden; The Lodger; The Ring; Downhill; Easy Virtue; The Farmer's Wife; Champagne; The Manxman; and Blackmail.

I was lucky enough to see two of those, The Lodger and The Ring, as part of a Hitchcock triple bill at the cinema last year (the other film shown, Sabotage, was a mid-30s talkie). I'd wanted to see The Lodger for years, if only because it starred Ivor Novello as a young man whose landlady suspects may be a Jack the Ripper-type killer of young blonde ladies. Innovatively shot, it's a great thriller, and the line 'To-night - Golden Curls!' has stuck in my mind ever since. Ivor Novello, needless to say, was just beautiful.

The Ring was a Hitchcock screenplay as well as a film he directed, and it's a simple enough tale: boxer meets girl, boxer and girl marry, girl meets champion boxer, boxer fights his way to the top to take on wife-stealing champ... If you love the 1920s you'll love the house and party scenes, and be frantically taking notes on the decor!

I was really pleased to have the opportunity to see these films in a cinema, because it really is the best place to see black-and-white films, and will be making a donation. If the restoration goes ahead, here's hoping all nine will come soon to cinemas countrywide.


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