Alfred Hitchcock's Silent Movies to Get New Scores for London Olympics

New music scores commissioned to play out with images.

LONDON – The British Film Institute is to bring Alfred Hitchcock’s early, rarely seen, movie masterpieces to a whole new audience as an official part of the London 2012 Festival next summer, the finale of the Cultural Olympiad.

In a series of one-off shows, the silent films will be accompanied by newly commissioned orchestral music scores from established and fresh British musical talent including Nitin Sawhney, Tansy Davies and Daniel Cohen.

The organizers said the music “will add new dimensions to the master of cinema’s enduring appeal, providing audiences with a large scale yet intimate communal experience.”

Two events are already lined up.

Nitin Sawhney will write a score for The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1926) to be performed by him with the London Symphony Orchestra, commissioned by independent film distributor Network Releasing in partnership with the BFI.

Nitin described Hitchcock as a director “whose shadow any composer would be proud to stand in.”

Said Sawhney: “Bernard Herrmann is one of my great musical heroes.  It would be honor enough to follow in [longtime Hitchcock collaborator] Herrmann’s footsteps but to actually score a film that precedes his musical genius is a wonderful opportunity for creative imagination and invention.”

Young composer Daniel Cohen, a recent graduate from the Royal Academy of Music, will also undertake a new score for The Pleasure Garden (1925), to be performed by the Academy Manson Ensemble from the Royal Academy of Music.

The Pleasure Garden, Hitchcock’s first film as director, also marks Cohen’s first commissioned score.

Tansy Davies has also been commissioned to write a score for an as yet unnamed silent Hitchcock films.

BFI program creative director Heather Stewart said the org is looking forward to bringing Hitchcock’s restored early work to the London 2012 festival.

Ruth Mackenzie, director, Cultural Olympiad, said: “I’m delighted that the BFI is developing an ambitious program for the London 2012 Festival and that one of the world’s best loved film makers will be celebrated in the Olympic and Paralympic year."

Hitchcock was born and bred in East London - the home of the London Olympic Park - and thanks to BFI’s fundraising efforts, restoration work from the director’s catalog between 1925 and 1929 are now underway.

The campaign bannered “Rescue the Hitchcock 9” has already received support from The Film Foundation which has donated, in partnership with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, over $250,000 - the largest contribution so far.

Martin Scorsese, chair of The Film Foundation he is thrilled that the films will be preserved “and made available with the best possible prints for audiences to enjoy.”

The funds are being used towards the restoration of The Lodger, The Ring, Blackmail and The Pleasure Garden.

The live performances will provide audiences with unique experiences at yet to be confirmed venues across the British capital and will be followed in autumn 2012 by a complete Hitchcock retrospective at BFI Southbank.