The Hitchcock 9

The “first true Hitchcock movie” according to the man himself, was The Lodger, a fog-shrouded serial-killer thriller from 1926, but in retrospect the whole batch of silents he cranked out at around that time seems highly Hitchcockian. Retrospect is clearer than ever thanks to new restorations of the whole batch, collectively “The Hitchcock 9,” now touring the world and going to show how much cinematic subtext the eventual master managed to articulate before movies even learned to talk. Consider his first official directing gig, 1925’s The Pleasure Garden, which begins with a voyeuristic vision of leggy dancing girls and their tuxedoed oglers, and nimbly struts through several well-staged titillations thereafter. Or consider 1929’s Blackmail, with its alert close-ups of shifty eyes and lethal weapons, its spatially eloquent chase-scene climax: basically a thriller how-to. Consider the intense subjectivity of a boxer’s point of view in 1927’s The Ring, or the prototypical “Hitchcock Blonde” (Anny Ondra) in 1929’s The Manxman, or all the other abiding flourishes on display in these deliciously movieish movies. The irrepressible, that’s what’s truly Hitchcockian, and what endures.