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The Hitchcock9

With the British Council

November 7-17 2013

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To be screened for the first time in Turkey, Istanbul Modern Cinema, in collaboration with the British Council and the British Film Institute presents nine silent films from the early career of Alfred Hitchcock, the “Master of Suspense.” These surviving films, which Hitchcock directed in the 1920s during the silent era, were cleaned and restored by the British Film Institute last year. “The silent films were the purest form of cinema” said Hitchcock. Shedding light on Hitchcock’s later work, providing clues as to his cinema – which can be considered as a school of today’s film grammar – and displaying the evolution of the director’s truly unique style, these nine films include: The Pleasure Garden, the directors first film in a black-comedy style made when he was 25; Blackmail, a crime thriller made in 1929; and The Lodger, a more expressionist thriller. The films will be screened in DCP format and accompanied with live performances by musicians such as John Sweeney from the UK and Hakan Ali Toker and Erdem Helvacıoğlu from Turkey. On Thursday, November 7, British cinema critic and journalist Ian Haydn Smith will present a talk on Alfred Hitchcock’s 50-year cinema career.

 

 

Blackmail, 1929

UK, DCP, Black & White, 84’, English

Cast: Anny Ondra, John Longden, Cyril Ritchard

With live musical accompaniment by John Sweeney

Hitchcock’s silent Blackmail is one of the best British films made in 1929, during the transition to the sound era; it was commissioned as both silent and part talkie with music and some dialogue scenes.  Alice White is in love with the Scotland Yard detective Frank Webber. On a date night with the detective,sheditches him and secretly arranges a meeting with another man. Later that night Alice agrees to go back to his flat to see his studio but the man has other plans for her.  From its opening sequence with the police tracking down a wanted criminal, through scenes on the London Underground, the film successfully escapes from its theatrical origins.

 

Champagne, 1928

UK, DCP, Black & White, 105’, English

Cast: Betty Balfour, Gordon Harker, Ferdinand von Alten

With live musical accompaniment by John Sweeney

It’s a romantic comedy-melodrama focusing on a wealthy man and his spoiled daughter. The daughter leads a life of luxury on the profits from her father’s champagne business.  To bring her back down to earth, he pretends to be bankrupt and forces his daughter to try to learn a lesson and make a living on her own.  Hitchcock’s long-term fascination with the weakness of the filthy rich features shows some experimental touches such as the opening shot filmed through a raised champagne glass. 

 

Downhill, 1927

UK, DCP, Black & White, 105’, English

Cast: Ivor Novello, Isabel Jeans, Ian Hunter, Robin Irvine

Downhill is an early example of Hitchcock’s interest in guilt and his unstable attitude towards family life. Roddy is the school captain and a star rugby player. He and his best friend Tim, start seeing a waitress called Mabel. Out of temper, Mabel tells the headmaster that she is pregnant and that Roddy is the father. He is falsely accused and because of this misjudgment he is expelled from school and disgraced by everybody including his father. After the unbearable accusations, he goes into self-imposed exile, renting himself out as a companion to lonely wealthy women. Hitchcock tries to tell the story with a minimum of title cards to allow the film’s visual narrative tell the story. 

 

Easy Virtue, 1928

UK, DCP, Black & White, 70’, English

Cast: Isabel Jeans, Franklyn Dyall, Ian Hunter, Robin Irvine

With live musical accompaniment by Erdem Helvacıoğlu

Easy Virtueoffers Hitchcock’s favorite theme ‘the wrong man’, judged guilty by society and forced to become an outsider. Larita is accused with infidelity by his drunkard husband. Because of her love affair she is now a disgraced woman. She leaves town for the French Riviera to rebuild her life. After a while she meets and marries a rich younger man named John Whittaker. Although she doesn’t tell him about her past, his mother strongly disapproves of her and suspects Larita of immorality. Hitchcock’s imaginative play with point-of-view and flashbacks shows his impressive narrative talent.  

 

The Farmer’s Wife, 1928

UK, DCP, Black & White, 107’, English

Cast: Jameson Thomas, Lilian Hall-Davis, Gordon Harker

With live musical accompaniment by John Sweeney

In this charming rustic comedy, a middle-aged widower decides to remarry after the marriages of his daughters. To find an eligible mate, he enlists his faithful housekeeper to draw up a list. Every candidate for the "title" proves insufficient, because they fail to meet the farmer's exacting standards. He later finds out that choosing a suitable mate is a problematic process. The bumbling search of the widower refracts Hitchcock’s own timidity around women. Use of long takes and party scenes featuring meticulous choreography demonstrates the director’s genius.  

 

The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog, 1926

UK, DCP, Black & White, 90’, English

Cast: Ivor Novello, June, Marie Ault, Malcolm Keen

The fog covered city London is terrorized by a serial killer. Mrs. Bunting, a landlady, hires a new lodger. After the horrible events that took place in London, she starts to suspect that her new lodger might be the serial killer terrorizing the city. Described by Hitchcock himself as "the first true Hitchcock movie”, this masterful silent thriller stars the matinee idol Ivor Novello as the mysterious lodgerand challenges the audience to think the worst of him.

 

The Manxman, 1929

UK, DCP, Black & White, 100’, English

Cast: Carl Brisson, Malcolm Keen, Anny Ondra

With live musical accompaniment by Hakan Ali Toker

The film tells the story of two childhood friends who take different paths in adulthood. Despite their differing backgrounds, fisherman Pete and lawyer Philip have been lifelong friends on the Isle of Man.  Pete is in love with the landlord’s daughter Kate, but Kate’s father doesn’t think he is good enough. Pete leaves the island to make his fortune and asks Philip to take care of Kate. In his absence Kate and Philip fall in love. Story of a romantic love triangle The Manxman was to be Hitchcock’s last silent film and is considered one of the best and most mature works of his early career.

 

The Pleasure Garden, 1925

UK,DCP, Black & White, 90’, English

Cast: Virginia Valli,Miles Mander, Carmelita Geraghty, John Stuart

With live musical accompaniment by Hakan Ali Toker

Hitchcock’s first film as director exposes many of his obsessions such as deception, black comedy and murder.Patsy Brand is a chorus girl who works in a theatre called “Pleasure Garden”. She marries a soldier named Levett. One day she meets Jill Cheyne who desperately wants a job as a dancer. Thanks to Patsy, Jill starts working in the theatre.  Levett’s friend Hugh gets engaged to Jill. Hugh and Levett need to transfer to colonies in the Tropics. By the time Patsy goes on with her life in London and Jill easily forgets her boyfriend.Hitchcock’s first silent film is a melodrama about mistrusts and limits of fidelity.

 

The Ring, 1927

UK, DCP, Black & White, 108’, English

Cast: Carl Brisson, Lilian Hall-Davis, Ian Hunter, Gordon Harker

The Ringis Hitchcock’s one and only original screenplay. It’s a love triangle melodrama between fairground boxers whose lover falls for the charms of a professional boxer. “One Round” Jack is a boxer who fights in bazaars. He is engaged to Mabel. One day The Australian Champion Bob Corby hires Jack to be his sparring partner. Some time goes by before Bob realizes that he is in love with Jack’s beautiful partnerMabel. After Mabel and Bob run away together, Jack starts to train for his revenge.

 

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The Man Who Knew Too Much

UK, MUBI-web, Black & White, 75’, English

Cast: Leslie Banks, Edna Best, Peter Lorre

While holidaying in Switzerland, Lawrence and his wife Jill are asked by a dying friend, Louis Bernard, to get information hidden in his room to the British Consulate. When they get the information, about the assassination of a foreign dignitary, but deny having it, their daughter Betty is kidnapped. A classic filled with dark humor and suspense from the master himself, and with Peter Lorre too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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