UPDATE: Hello folks. As always, the Siren, Marilyn Ferdinand and the fine people at the National Film Preservation Foundation are happy with the outpouring from the blogosphere. The number of bloggers participating is higher than ever, and the quality of writing is tremendous, some of the best stuff the Siren has seen during any of the preservation blogathons.
But. And it's a big but.
We're behind, y'all. Way behind. Behind the first year, behind last year.
Now of course it's no coincidence that one could say precisely the same thing about the economy--GDP, schm-DP, it's tough out there. But (did I say that already?) there's no lower limit on what you can toss into the hat, and most of us can spare the cost of a movie ticket or a DVD. It isn't just the amount; it's the number of donors that has us a bit downcast, considering the kind of traffic and posting we've been seeing.
The Siren's got a tip jar on the sidebar that she threw up one day in an "oh what the hell" kind of mood and then never mentioned on the blog itself, not once. To her amazed delight and immense gratitude, some people have actually hit that tip jar, and it's all going to the NFPF by the end of the week. So you could also think of this as cutting out the middleman, or middlesiren. It's all gonna wind up in the same place.
So, once more, and at the risk of sounding like a donation-soliciting version of Jessie Royce Landis ("Roger, pay the two dollars"), the Siren asks you to click below, and throw a little dough at Hitchcock, and Graham Cutts, and Betty Compson, and the people like us who want to see The White Shadow.
Greetings, writers and friends to film preservation. The Siren's corner of the Web continues today as home page for our blogathon to benefit the National Film Preservation Foundation, For the Love of Film.
This year, as we've been trumpeting for a good long while, our blogathon is raising money for the NFPF's efforts to stream online three reels of the once-lost, now-found 1923 silent movie, The White Shadow. This U.K. melodrama was directed by one Graham Cutts, but it has another hook: It is the first film we have that featured a major contribution from one Alfred Hitchcock. The young Hitchcock, according to his biographers, was assistant director, wrote the title cards, edited, designed the sets, decorated the sets, and just generally worked like crazy learning everything he could about how to make a film. And this training-to-make-films wheeze worked out pretty well, as you know.
The White Shadow has already been preserved and restored, and was screened by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles last fall. The Siren wasn't there, and most of you probably weren't, either. Given the level of historic interest (and artistic interest, too--the good folks at the NFPF say this one's an eyeful), that's a shame. We are in a position to do something about it, though. Our goal: to raise $15,000 so the NFPF can put The White Shadow online for three months, with a recorded score by Michael Mortilla, a man with a long history of composing splendid music for silent films.
This blogathon is about raising dough, so if you have not done so, please click the button below and DONATE NOW.
Or click on this link. The Siren is not fussy. All roads lead to the NFPF. We've been doing this for two days, and the pattern we set in the first two blogathons is holding; so far the pace is slow. But it always picks up, and that's what the Siren, Marilyn Ferdinand and Rod Heath are hoping happens now.
The first blogathon raised a gratifying amount of cash, enough to help the National Film Preservation Foundation repatriate and restore two silent films, The Sergeant and The Better Man. Those films were part of the more than 100 silent-era American films found in New Zealand Film Archive; so was The White Shadow. It was quite a cache. Both films are included on the NFPF Treasures 5: The West box set--with our blogathon cited in the booklet as having helped to save them, and doesn't that warm your heart. Treasures 5 is among the prizes that will be raffled at random to 10 lucky donors.
Last year, our second go-round raised money to help the Film Noir Foundation restore Cy Endfield’s 1950 film The Sound of Fury, which has a powerhouse performance by Lloyd Bridges and its own historic significance: Endfield was blacklisted, and his filmography is short. The Film Noir Foundation tells us that restoration will begin in January 2013, and the film will repremiere at NOIR CITY 12 in San Francisco in 2014. We can be proud of that one, too.
Let's do it again. As always, the Siren is delighted with the number of bloggers participating, and the very high quality of their posts. We are raising awareness in a big way, and creating an Internet resource on film preservation that will stick around for a long time.
But of course, the point is to raise money. And while donations have been present, and steady, and the good folks at the National Film Preservation Foundation are grateful for every dime, the Siren asks you to urge your readers to give, if they haven't already.
Check this post throughout the day to keep track of the blogathon posts. The Siren will be here today and tomorrow, linking away. The first two days of posts--and they're awesome--can be found over at Marilyn's place. Remember, Thursday and Friday, your affable host is Rod Heath at This Island Rod.
The Siren kicks things off with her own post, about Lifeboat. A movie about being lost and rescued seemed awfully fitting to her. You can take a look at that one, and then keep track of the many, many more.
TUESDAY, MAY 15
Kevyn Knox, at The Most Beautiful Fraud in the World, rises to the poetic occasion with a composition that works in every Alfred Hitchcock title.
"My problem is that dullard Frank. He’s unethical, overbearing, and, worst of all, boring.” “Yes, but since he’s entirely too dull to be a villain, I believe we are stuck with Frank as our hero.” Lee Price at 21 Essays riffs on the collaboration between Michael Powell and Hitch during the filming of Blackmail.
Ed Howard at the wonderful Only the Cinema blog also has Blackmail on his mind: "Hitchcock is saying goodbye to the silents that nurtured his talent, and saying it with panache..."
What happens when a brilliant director films something by a playwright famed for his dialogue--and has to do it as a silent movie? Chris Edwards at Silent Volume explores what worked and didn't work when Hitchcock met Noel Coward, in Easy Virtue.
Duke Mantee at Picture Spoilers knows the Siren's heart can be reached by train, and he's attacking the silent-film angle of this year's blogathon with a lovely essay on Buster Keaton's deep love of all things railroad-related.
Two sinisterly clever. posts at Limerwrecks, the blog hosted by old Siren pal Hilary Barta, aka Surlyh (but Hilary isn't the least bit surly and never has been--there, the Siren's wanted to say that for years). The first is a lament for a bout of Vertigo, a rare non-limerick from Norm Knott/Jim Siergey. The second is our limerick of the day from Hilary, about the same film.
This is epic, and so appropriate: Chef du Cinema offers a post that links, if you click through, to not one or two, but THREE recipes suitable to eat while watching Hitchcock films. The first, in honor of The Lady Vanishes, is one that Alma Reville Hitchcock cooked for her food-loving husband: Crêpes Elizabeth. The others are Coq au Vin (no prizes for guessing the related film) and the trouty-but-good trout, in case you're traveling North by Northwest.
High-Def Digest offers an appreciation of the great Henry Fonda's one Hitch collaboration, The Wrong Man, and of the film's "stripped-down aesthetic."
"Each of the courtyard's individual apartments are a physical manifestation of Jefferies' fears of seriously committing to Fremont": Siren pal Tony Dayoub writes up his own cogent thoughts on Rear Window, at the always-good Cinema Viewfinder.
Another old friend, Operator 99 from the completely fabulous Allure, has a set of posters from the foreign release of Alfred Hitchcock films. Allure always has things you won't see anywhere else.
At Cinema Sight, contributors Wesley Lovell, Peter J. Patrick and Tripp Burton are counting down their favorite Hitchcock films. To see which films were picked as Numbers Six and Seven, click right here.
All the way from Dubai, Hind Mezaina is on her third year of doing her bit for preservation at her blog, the Culturist. Today, she's back with embedded episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, with the aim of showcasing the jaw-dropping kind of people who worked on that TV show: Bette Davis, Roger Moore, Steve McQueen, Walter Matthau, William Shaner, Gena Rowlands, Peter Falk, Leslie Nielsen, Robert Redford and Rober Duvall.
"You can also understand how one actor might take "Just do what you always do" as a compliment and sign of respect, or as an insult": The mighty Glenn Kenny deals, as only Glenn can, with the idea that Hitchcock was not a friend to actors.
Darren Mooney at the M0vie Blog is midway through a string of posts that also deal with Alfred Hitchcock Presents, here paying tribute to the episode that gained the series its first Emmy nomination: "The Case of Mr. Pelham," with Tom Ewell as an accountant convinced someone is trying to steal his identity.
At The End of Cinema, Sean Gillman goes deep into The Lodger, Hitchcock's third film as director and the one most people cite as "the first "true" Hitchcock film."
"I would be lying if I said that this post wasn’t going to be mostly hot pictures of Jo Cotten." And if that doesn't prompt you to visit Marya at Cinema Fanatic and her post on Shadow of a Doubt, nothing will.
"Family Plot is a film that seems to get tossed off with barely a nod": Donna Hill begs to differ, in a lovingly detailed post at Strictly Vintage Hollywood.
Brooksie (love that nom de blog!) at Brooksie's Silent Film Collection has a wonderful post that uses The White Shadow as a starting point to look at the theme of twins, doubles and doppelgangers in Hitchcock, and in other silent films.
A photo array of The Art of Alfred Hitchcock, which may not be what you think it's going to be. From Larry Aydlette, sui generis as ever.
At Press Play, the Indiewire site devoted to video essays, Peter Labuza has an essay up demonstrating the world-wide impact of Hitchcock: Another titan, Akira Kurosawa, shows Hitch's influence in his film High and Low.
We all know about Hitchcock's love/hate relationship with special effects--but Gareth at Gareth's Movie Diary has a post about an effect that the master never used, because it was so real it might have panicked the audience. Completely fascinating, and absolutely new to the Siren.
A glimpse of the Siren's mysterious Twitter pal, The Futurist, and his Hitchcock-loving psyche.
Awesome--Andrew Hartman at the U.S. Intellectual History blog has a brief, elegant post about Hitchcock, horror and the theories of Slavoj Zizek. What's a blogathon without Zizek, I ask you?
David Cairns, whose wonderful post on Lifeboat the Siren linked in her own, offers a recap of the Hitchcock Year he ran on the indispensable Shadowplay.
Hedwig from As Cool as a Fruitstand talks about a key element of the magnificent Vertigo: the radical change in perspective that Hitch pulls off midway through.
The Siren loves this one: Eric at Dr. Film's Blog posts a list of The Top 13 Films in Need of Preservation. Just see if you don't to get hold of them somehow, too...
Scenes from the Morgue is back, with W.B. Kelso posting vintage newspaper ads for Hitchcock movies: "Gosh! No wonder they tell you to see it from the beginning! That ending is !!! Gosh!"
And, also from Mr. Kelso: What do Tom Hanks and Rear Window have in common?
At Home and Amateur, notes from Dwight Swanson on Alfred Hitchcock's home movies--yes, he took them--and how they were preserved.
Doug Bonner at Boiling Sand has an elegantly written, carefully researched analysis of "Poison," an Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode made just after Vertigo. The Siren has never seen it, but she now intends to search out, pronto.
Long before the Internet, the Kinematograph Year Books helped people in the British film industry check out whether someone was padding their resume. At the Pneumatic Rolling-Sphere Carrier Delusion, Joe Thompson looks at three of the yearbooks and picks out some fascinating Hitchcock-related entries.
Another great piece of research, from Sean Axmaker at MSN movies, this one on the long and convoluted saga of restoring Metropolis, that celebrated masterwork from Fritz Lang.
A nine-minute champagne commercial from Martin Scorsese--with a film-preservation angle, yet? Larry Aydlette's Tumblr has it, and as Larry reminds us, giving to film preservation would make Marty--I mean Mr. Scorsese happy.
Noel Vera of Critic After Dark has a nifty theory about why Scottie should have twigged to the plot shenanigans in Vertigo earlier than he actually did.
The Siren tweeted this link, and got more retweets than she'd ever imagined: Rhett Bartlett at Dial M for Movies collected the final frame of every Hitchcock film extant. Not content to rest on his laurels, Rhett has added an interview regarding the BFI's "Rescue the Hitchcock 9" project--their effort to restore nine of the master's silent films.
At Film Noir Blonde, Jacqueline Fitzgerald lifts a glass to the champagne cocktail that is Notorious, "one of the most beautiful films Hitch ever made."
WEDNESDAY, MAY 16
"What is to be made of Hitchcock's first film? It's hard to see the director Hitchcock would become without squinting. It's there, but it's not fully formed": Vulnavia Morbius of Krell Laboratories squints at The Pleasure Garden (1925) and detects Hitchcock just beginning to work out his vocabulary.
David Cairns gives us a video essay, on the use of hands in The 39 Steps, intended to be a companion to his essay on that great film to be included in the Criterion Blu-Ray. (The Siren plans to pounced on that one.)
At Scenes from the Morgue, W.B. Kelso favors us with newspaper ads for The Birds, featuring a decidedly non-glamourous shot of Tippi Hedren and Hitchcock looking even more impish than usual. And at Micobrew Reviews, he goes into the justly celebrated trailer for that film.
Ed Howard of Only the Cinema traces Hitchcock's "budding visual imagination and subtle sense of humor" in a typically astute post on the director's third sound film, Murder!.
"If you have a favorite actress and you want to see her stockinged legs and feet and never have and she's in a Hitchcock movie, you're in luck!" Greg Ferrara of Cinema Styles says he has nothing new to say about Hitchcock, but he says that nothing with great humor and panache.
Guest blogger Joan Myers is hot on the Case of the Actress Who Is Not Nita Naldi, as she discusses The Pleasure Garden over at Strictly Vintage Hollywood.
Hilary Barta, for his part, is dissecting the master's imitators and his childhood neuroses, in witty five-anapestic form at Limerwrecks.
A master and his dogs: Alfred Hitchcock poses adorably with his terriers, both on and off-screen at Spellbound by Movies.
Peter Nelhaus comes up with an Asian thriller that makes some good use of Hitchcock's interest in how long it takes someone to die: Lady in Black.
Hind Mezaina is back, with a clip of Alfred Hitchcock on What's My Line, disguising his voice and even trotting a word or two of French, no doubt in preparation for chatting with M. Truffaut.
Also returning: Lee Price at 21 Essays, musing on the role of paintings in both Michael Powell's Age of Consent and Hitchcock's Blackmail. All this, plus more fantasy dialogue: "Your hero sounds like a very sick man to me." No kidding!
The Trouble With Harry is probably that it's a dark comedy, but Angela Petteys admits that she does, too, at Hollywood Revue.
The Futurist warms the Siren's heart by posting the trailer to probably the least heart-warming Hitchcock movie ever made.
Still counting down the Hitchcock Ten at Cinema Sight, with Numbers Five and Four from Messrs. Lovell, Patrick and Burton. A special shout-out to Mr. Burton for his No. 5!
Now this is different: KC of Classic Movies reviews The Testament of Judy Barton, a novel for all those who watched Vertigo, looked at red-headed Kim Novak and saw a hard-luck dame if ever there was one.
A film Hitchcock himself disliked, but one that prefigured Under Capricorn: Sean Gillman looks at what's worthwhile in The Manxman, at The End of Cinema.
Hooray! Rachel of The Girl With the White Parasol loves Tallulah Bankhead in general, and Lifeboat in particular, as much as the Siren does. An absolutely wonderful tribute to Bankhead's talent, beauty, and just how good she was in the movie, with oodles of screencaps.
Alfred Hitchcock, eternal bridesmaid--at least, in competition at the Oscars. Wesley Lovell looks at the whys and wherefores, at Cinema Sight.
Catching up with High-Def Digest: Josh Zyber takes advantage of a stay in San Francisco to take us on a Vertigo-inspired tour. And Aaron Peck offers a Top 10 list of Hitchcock posters. A must-click for the Marnie poster alone--all the Siren can say to that one is whoa.
Both Marilyn and the Siren love them some Tinky Weisblat, and here you can see why: a lovely meditation on the domestic longings in Shadow of a Doubt, AND a recipe for butterscotch pound cake with maple icing. At Our Grandmother's Kitchen.
Darren Mooney continues his series on Alfred Hitchcock Presents with "Back for Christmas." Includes Hitchcock's not-to-be-missed intro, which begins, as one always does for a Christmas special, "Shrunken heads are a hobby of mine."
"It’s one of Hitchcock’s best and most chilling films, and the first in which he denies his audience the cleansing catharsis of his heroine’s redemption." The fine film critic and writer Carrie Rickey joins us with a post on her favorite Hitchcock: Shadow of a Doubt. (It's the Siren's favorite too--and Hitchcock's.)
At The Frame, Jandy Stone Hardesty recounts the experience of seeing The White Shadow at AMPAS--the very experience we're blogging to bring to everybody. And she asks: " If we can still locate treasure troves like this in 2011, what else might still be out there, waiting for intrepid archivists to find it, figure out what it is, and restore it so the world can rediscover it?"
The Hitlist at MSN chips in again with a new contributor, Kate Erbland, writing about the appointment of Carl Beauchamp as Resident Scholar at the Mary Pickford Foundation, a group that itself has done good work on behalf of film history.
Former VH1 host Bobby Rivers, a lover of classic film, a very funny man and one of the best Twitter-following decisions the Siren ever made (he's @BobbyRiversTV) comes through with a loving tribute to Doris Day and her evolution in The Man Who Knew Too Much.
At Garbo Laughs, Caroline traces Alfred Hitchcock getting "comfortable in the director's chair" in his 1928 silent comedy, The Farmer's Wife. She also gives a shout-out to the awesome Screening Room at the NFPF, where movies are streamed, free.
Another glimpse of Hitchcock entries in the production annuals that film professionals used back in the day, this time from The Hollywood Reporter Production Encyclopedia; at Joe Thompson's Pneumatic Rolling-Sphere Carrier Delusion.
At Cry of the City, cherished Siren commenter Trish has a post about why she's always loved the decidedly odd Marnie, with attention paid to Sean Connery as Mark, "required to be love interest, zoologist, detective and psychiatrist."
Oh look, even Smithsonian.com is on board! Daniel Eagan has a really wonderful post about film preservation, The White Shadow and the nature of streaming films online, with some thoughts from the NFPF's Annette Melville, who has been the guardian angel for the blogathon. There's even information about Alfred Hitchcock's canny moves with regard to the rights to his films.