Alfred Hitchcock, Master of Suspense, at Istanbul museum
ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Istanbul Modern Cinema presents nine silent films from the early career of Alfred Hitchcock directed in the 1920s during the silent era.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.” The program will take place between Nov. 7 and 17. These surviving films, which Hitchcock directed in the 1920s during the silent era, were cleaned and restored by the British Film Institute last year. “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, Nov. 7, British cinema critic and journalist Ian Haydn Smith will present a talk on Alfred Hitchcock’s 50-year cinema career.
The program consists of different Hitchcock movies. Blackmail, from 1929 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 audio with music and some dialogue scenes. Alice White is in love with the Scotland Yard detective Frank Webber.
Champagne is 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.
Downhill and other movies
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 a 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 offers Hitchcock’s favorite theme ‘the wrong man’, judged guilty by society and forced to become an outsider. Hitchcock’s imaginative play with point-of-view and flashbacks shows his impressive narrative talent. The Farmer’s Wife is a rustic comedy; a middle-aged widower decides to remarry after his daughters’ marriages.
The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog is described by Hitchcock himself as “the first true Hitchcock movie.” The silent thriller stars the matinee idol Ivor Novello as the mysterious lodger and challenges the audience to think the worst of him.
The Manxman 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. The Pleasure Garden is Hitchcock’s first film as director that exposes many of his obsessions such as deception, black comedy and murder. Patsy Brand is a chorus girl who works in a theater called “Pleasure Garden”. She marries a soldier named Levett.
The Ring is 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 partner Mabel. After Mabel and Bob run away together, Jack starts to train for his revenge.