We’ve hooked you up with 20 free Alfred Hitchcock movies online. We’ve written about Hitchcock, the new Anthony Hopkins-starring film that opens this week. Now we’d like to direct your attention dear Open Culture readers to The White Shadow. Even if you think you’ve seen every Hitchcock movie, you probably haven’t seen this one, given that its surviving elements only recently came to light. “Forget about that Alfred Hitchcock movie starring Anthony Hopkins that opens next week,” says the Hollywood Reporter. “Fans can watch another film with the famed director’s fingerprints all over it — the oldest one anyone could possibly see, in fact — starting today [ ... ] the earliest surviving feature credited to Hitchcock.” It comes to us as a project of the New Zealand Film Archive, whose efforts have made the film streamable here.
The catch: only three reels of The White Shadow survive. But that’s three more than cinephiles could enjoy before their sudden discovery last year. A fundraising drive drawing on Hitchcock enthusiasts the world over made possible the restoration and scoring of these reels, not to mention their online streaming availability through January 15, 2013. You’ll even get a suite of associated features, including notes by critic David Sterritt, a bio of salvager/projectionist Jack Murtaugh, and a slide show documenting the discovery of the film. But this is Hitchcock we’re talking about, and even though The White Shadow came only three years into his career and appears in a halved state, it still delivers his signature combination of atmosphere, suspense, and controlled sensationalism. Whether or not you also plan to see Hopkins play Hitchcock or have a 20-picture online Hitchcock marathon, enjoy, while you can, this partial Parisian tale of twin sisters, “one angelic and the other without a soul.”