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Rare Early Hitchcock Pics to Tour U.S.

BFI restored nine silent movies that will unspool this summer

A U.S. tour of Alfred Hitchcock’s nine earliest surviving works, all silent pics newly restored by the British Film Institute, will roll out this summer.

Made from 1925 to 1929, the movies include the director’s first film, “The Pleasure Garden,” plus “Downhill,” “Easy Virtue,” “Champagne” and “The Farmer’s Wife.”

The familiar Hitchcock style begins to emerge in at least four of the films: “Blackmail,” “The Ring,” “The Manxman” and “The Lodger,” which the helmer himself described as the first true Hitchcock picture. It also features his first cameo appearance. A tenth pic, “The Mountain Eagle,” is lost.

Screenings will be presented by the San Francisco Silent Film Festival at the Castro Theater, June 14-16; BAMcinematek at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Steinberg Screen in the Harvey Theater, June 29-July 5; and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, kicking off at the Academy’s Goldwyn Theater in Los Angeles, on June 18.

The pics are also set to screen in Washington, D.C., Berkeley, Chicago, Seattle, Houston, Boston, and other cities. Both the Brooklyn and San Francisco events will feature live music performed by the Colorado-based Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, British composer-pianist Stephen Horne, and other artists.

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This is the largest restoration project ever undertaken by the BFI, which holds some of the most important and earliest surviving copies of Hitchcock’s silent work. The restorations also include materials sourced from other international archives.

The touring fest is a joint venture of the BFI, Park Circus/ITV Studios and Rialto Pictures/Studiocanal.

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