Alfred Hitchcock Collectors’ Guide: Miscellaneous British Films

  • His Master’s Apprenticeship: detailing the preservation status of Hitchcock’s earliest works
  • Hitchcock entered the film industry in the early 1920s as a lowly freelance title card designer
  • He quickly worked his way up through more responsible roles, culminating as assistant director
  • His next step was to begin creating his own inimitable catalogue of classic films
  • Within a few years he had risen to become Britain’s top director and Hollywood soon came calling

Note: this is one of 50-odd Hitchcock articles coming over the next few months. Any dead links are to those not yet published. Subscribe to the email list to be notified when new ones appear.

Woman to Woman (1923, asst dir. Alfred Hitchcock) US window card

Woman to Woman (1923) US window card

During his early years in the British film industry throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Hitch worked on 20-odd shorts and features in various capacities and earned a sole directing credit for 27 more. Only a handful of the films on which he had lesser input survive, in varying levels of condition and completeness.

These are the British films Hitch worked on outside of his main oeuvre. Except where noted otherwise, most are lost and of the remainder only three and a half (in bold) are available on home video. Thankfully though, five of those wholly or partially extant can be viewed for free via the BFI’s wonderful Mediatheques. They also have a handful of other Hitch essentials, including the documentary Paul Merton Looks at Alfred Hitchcock (2009), in which the comedian extols the virtues of Hitch’s pre-Hollywood career.

Famous Players-Lasky (British Producers Limited)

  • The Call of Youth (1921) – title designer
  • The Great Day (1920) – title designer
  • The Princess of New York (1921) – title designer
  • Appearances (1921) – title designer
  • Dangerous Lies (1921) – title designer
  • The Mystery Road (1921) – title designer
  • Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush (1921) – title designer
  • Three Live Ghosts (1922) – title designer, art director; Soviet re-edit extant: 6 reels/5,784ft
  • Love’s Boomerang (1922) – title designer
  • The Man from Home (1922) – title designer, art director; extant w/Dutch titles:  7 reels/6,895ft
  • The Spanish Jade (1922) – title designer, art director

Islington Studios

Marjorie Daw in The Passionate Adventure (1924, asst dir. Alfred Hitchcock)

Marjorie Daw in The Passionate Adventure (1924) – see here


Woman to Woman (1923)

Based on Michael Morton’s eponymous 1921 play, the first filmed version was directed by Graham Cutts, with Hitch assisting in several roles both credited and uncredited, writing among them. I wouldn’t expect it to have been the most insightfully written Hitch adaptation:

“I had to write the screenplay for the movie Woman to Woman: the story of a man who has a mistress in Paris, who bangs his head, loses his memory, and starts going with another woman, who gives him a child. Well, I was 23 years old, I’d never been with a woman, and I didn’t have the slightest idea what a woman did to have a child. I had even less idea what a man did when he was with his mistress in Paris or when he was with another woman who was giving him a child.”  – 1963 interview with Oriana Fallaci

Woman to Woman (1929) with Betty Compson, US lobby card

Woman to Woman (1929) US lobby card

In the absence of the 1923 original, we’ll have to content ourselves with the talkie remake, also featuring Betty Compson and directed by Cutts’ contemporary, Victor Saville. It’s a tragic tale of doomed romance set against the backdrop of the First World War. A second remake followed in 1947, this time updated to WWII, but it’s currently unavailable. Until someone ponies up for a full restoration, circulating copies of the 1929 version are in worn but watchable condition:

Betty Compson in Woman to Woman (1923, asst dir. Alfred Hitchcock)

Betty Compson in Woman to Woman (1923)


Those not yet linked are coming very soon. Subscribe to the email list to be notified.

I started Brenton Film because I love film – quelle surprise! The silent era, 1930s and 1940s especially get my literary juices flowing though. So you’ll see a lot about those. For more, see this site’s About page.

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