Great news for Hitchcock fans: a massive retrospective at the British Film Institute this summer.
Alfred Hitchcock is to be celebrated like never before this summer, with a retrospective of all his surviving films and the premieres of his newly restored silent films – including Blackmail, which will be shown outside the British Museum.
The BFI on Tuesday announced details of its biggest ever project: celebrating the genius of a man who, it said, was as important to modern cinema as Picasso to modern art or Le Corbusier to modern architecture. Heather Stewart, the BFI’s creative director, said: “The idea of popular cinema somehow being capable of being great art at the same time as being entertaining is still a problem for some people. Shakespeare is on the national curriculum, Hitchcock is not.”
One of the highlights of the season will be the culmination of a three-year project to fully restore nine of the director’s silent films. It will involve The Pleasure Garden, Hitchcock’s first, being shown at Wilton’s Music Hall; The Ring at Hackney Empire, and Blackmail outside the British Museum, where the film’s climactic chase scene was filmed in 1929, both inside the building and on the roof.
For me, the excitement is not really about the restorations, it’s simply about seeing all the classics on the big screen. Can you believe that I have only ever seen Rear Window on DVD?
Between August and October the BFI will show all 58 surviving Hitchcock films including his many films made in the UK – The 39 Steps, for example, and The Lady Vanishes – and those from his Hollywood years, from Rebecca in 1940 to Vertigo in 1957, The Birds in 1963 and his penultimate film, Frenzy, in 1972.
And Psycho, of course. “Psycho is a great work of modern art,” said Stewart. “Who hasn’t stood in the shower and had a little moment.”
Special guests during the Genius of Hitchcock season will include Tippi Hedren, the hapless victim of bird attacks in the film of the same name, and Bruce Dern who starred with Hedren in Marnie