Alfred Hitchcock‘s earliest surviving film (as Assistant Director, still working his way up to director) has only been ranked by one person on Flickchart. That person is me, because I happened to live in the right city to see the only screening the film has had probably since its original release in 1923. The film is The White Shadow, and it was considered a completely lost film, as are some 50-80% of all silent films, until three reels of it (roughly half) were identified among the New Zealand Archive’s “American Collection.”
The film had lost its titled sequence and was labeled “Two Sisters” and “Unidentified American Film” and no one knew precisely what it was until an archivist from Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences started doing detective work on the film and realize that this wasn’t an American film at all, but a British one – in fact, one of the two films that Alfred Hitchcock assistant directed under Graham Cutts, both of which starred popular American actress Betty Compson. The first, Woman to Woman, is still lost, as are just about every other film Hitchcock worked on (as AD, title designer, art director, set decorator, etc.) before taking the helm himself with 1925′s The Pleasure Garden.