Rare Hitchcock film found

Master director's first feature discovered in New Zealand

Lost footage from one of Alfred Hitchcock‘s first movies has been found in New Zealand.

The first three reels from his 1923 film, The White Shadow, have been discovered among a collection of prints donated to the New Zealand Film Archive by the family of projectionist and film collector Jack Murtagh.

Chairman of the National Society of Film Critics, David Sterritt welcomed the discovery, saying it was:

One of the most significant developments in memory. These first three reels offer a priceless opportunity to study his visual and narrative ideas when they were first taking shape.

The silent film, a melodrama featuring twins (one good, one evil), saw Hitchcock take on the roles of writer, assistant director, editor and production designer.


Born in Britain, Alfred Hitchcock is often regarded as one of the most influential film directors of all time, responsible for such classics as Psycho, North By Northwest, Vertigo and Rear Window.

As well as recently having his films ‘re-imagined’ (Rear Window became Disturbia, North by Northwest became Eagle Eye), the late director has also been further immortalised by The Simpsons, with not only a host of homages to his films, but also a walk on cameo.

The footage of The White Shadow will be preserved in Wellington, New Zealand at Park Road Post Production.