The Master of Suspense gets a new Restoration

Alfred Hitchcock’s Blackmail comes to the Academy for a special screening

It’s fun trying to look for Alfred Hitchcock in his own films. During the title sequence in North By Northwest he misses the bus and in The Birds he breezes out of a pet shop with his two dogs as Tippi Hedren enters. One of his earliest cameos was in an extended scene in his 1929 movie Blackmail. (We won’t spoil it for you but here’s a hint: He appears in the London Underground for 19 seconds.)

Tomorrow night (June 18) you’ll have a chance to spot Hitchcock during a special screening in which the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present both the silent and sound versions of Blackmail. The silent version will feature a new live score composed by Michael Mortilla.

Hitchcock was one of the first directors to transition easily to “talkies” in the late 1920s and early ’30s. Blackmail was shot with and without sound; the talkative version was praised for its innovative sound while the silent version (shown in UK theaters that were not yet equipped for sound) proved the audience favorite and had a longer theatrical run. Yet, it is the sound version that is most remembered.

Referred to as the first truly British “all-talkie” film, the plot of Blackmail revolves around a Scotland Yard detective who seems more interested in police work than his girlfriend–until he’s assigned to investigate a murder case in which she may be involved.

This special screening at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills is part of the British Film Institute’s U.S. national tour of the restored “Hitchcock 9,” the nine surviving Hitchcock silent films. (Others include Easy Virtue, Downhill, and The Pleasure Garden.)

In addition, Hitchcock’s only 3D film, Dial M for Murder, will be shown at a special digital 3D screening at the Goldwyn Theater on Wednesday (June 19).

Get ready for two nights of madness, murder, and suspense. Just don’t scream the ear off the person seated next to you in the auditorium.