The silent pictures were the purest form of cinema. —Alfred Hitchcock
Cornell Cinema is thrilled to present six silent films selected from “The Hitchcock 9,” a recent tour jointly presented by the British Film Institute (BFI), Park Circus/ITV, and Rialto Pictures.
The restoration of Alfred Hitchcock’s nine surviving silent films has been the biggest and most complex restoration project undertaken by the BFI National Archive to date. Hitchcock’s silent films are essential to an understanding of his later work and these restorations now enable them to be seen afresh and discovered by new audiences across the world. From BFI:
While Hitchcock is one of the most famous film directors of all time, his first 10 films—nine of which survive—are little known compared to his later work. Made from 1925 to 1929, Hitchcock’s extant silents are among the greatest achievements of early British cinema, containing the motifs and obsessions we’ve come to recognize as ’Hitchcockian’, though most of the nine have been little-seen here, if at all.
The restoration of the ‘Hitchcock 9’ is the largest restoration project ever undertaken by the BFI, which holds some of the most important and earliest surviving copies of the silent Hitchcocks; the restorations also include materials sourced from other international archives. The restorations have made the films crisper and fresher than ever and uncover new layers of meaning, encouraging a deeper appreciation of the precocious genius at work.
Four of our selections will be accompanied live on piano by Dr. Philip Carli, one of the best silent film accompanists in the world (who happens to live nearby in Rochester!), one of which, the fantastic Champagne, will be presented as the featured event at our tenth annual Elegant Winter Party and fundraising event on February 22. The Lodger will be accompanied by a trio of seasoned silent film composers/accompanists, and Downhill will be presented with its own solo piano soundtrack by John Sweeney.
The series is cosponsored with the Cornell Council for the Arts.