Hitchcock Holocaust Documentary Set for 2015 Release

Image: Hitchcock Holocaust Documentary Set for 2015 Release

Wednesday, 08 Jan 2014 02:07 PM

By Courtney Coren

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Alfred Hitchcock's documentary on the Holocaust is set to be released in 2015 to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and the liberation of Europe.

The little-known documentary titled "Memory of the Camps," which will be released under a new name, is said to include shocking footage of the concentration camps where the Nazis kept and murdered millions of Jews during World War II, primarily the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in northwestern Germany, which was liberated by the British in 1945, The Independent reports.

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The film's release is expected to spark debate over its contents, which so disturbed Hitchcock when he first saw the footage, that it took him a week before he returned to Pinewood Studios, where the famous British director made some of his films.

Hitchcock worked on the film along with his friend and patron Sidney Bernstein. They used British and Soviet film that was shot when the camp was liberated.

However, it was never released, partly because it took longer to complete than they had expected.

An incomplete version of the film was released in 1984 at the Berlin Film Festival after it was discovered in a rusty can in the 1980s by an American researcher working at the Imperial War Museum in London. However, only five of six film reels were found at the time, and the quality was considered very poor. It also aired on PBS in 1985.

The version that is set to be released in 2015 is said to be the way Hitchcock and Bernstein intended it to be. It has been restored by the Imperial War Museum using digital technology along with the sixth reel, with the commentary re-recorded by a contemporary actor.

It will be released first at festivals and cinemas along with a new documentary titled "Night Will Fall," which is directed by Andre Singer. Then they will both air on British TV.

Toby Haggith, senior curator at the Imperial War Museum described the film as "much more candid" than other films done about the Holocaust, but also said it was "brilliant" and "sophisticated."

"It's both an alienating film in terms of its subject matter but also one that has a deep humanity and empathy about it," Haggith told The Independent. "Rather than coming away feeling totally depressed and beaten, there are elements of hope."

According to The Independent, Hitchcock fans have mixed feelings about the documentary. They are both excited and wary about its release. On the one hand, it is of great interest because the footage clearly had an impact on the director, but they think it almost distasteful to put a Nazi documentary in the same category as other Hitchcock movies.

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