The White Shadow, a silent “atmospheric melodrama starring Betty Compson in a dual role as twin sisters, one angelic and the other being ‘without a soul.’” is one of Alfred Hitchcock’s earliest contributions to cinema, as he served as the art director, editor, writer, and assistant director on the film. It has been though to be lost, until recently. Three of the film’s six reels were just discovered in a storage vault owned by the New Zealand Film Archive. The film was thought to be lost due to nitrate decomposition. If I might drop a technical knowledge bomb on you all, early films were printed on nitrate, which caught fire easily and degraded heavily over time, if not properly cared for.
In out staff e-mails, Max made the valid point that as an AD, Hitchcock had no real creative input on set. However, he was still the writer and art director, so it’s likely some bit of Hitchcock DNA is in the film. I’m excited to see if what remains of the film ever sees the light of day. I absolutely love seeing early work of genius filmmakers like this, so I’m pretty pumped to see this footage.[Via Collider]