Watch: Hitchcock's Forgotten Holocaust Doc 'Memory of the Camps'
While the iconic director Alfred Hitchcock is primarily known for being the master of suspense with classic films like Vertigo, North by Northwest, The Birds, Psycho and Rear Window in his filmography, many have forgotten one project that was outside of his comfort zone in more ways than one. In 1984, a Hitchcock directed Holocaust documentary called Memory of the Camps was unveiled at the Berlin Film Festival and also on PBS. Now Open Culture (via The Playlist) has found the 53-minute cut of the dark documentary which has footage of Nazi concentration camps as seen by the British Army Film Unit in 1945.
Here's the 53-minute version of Hitchcock's Holocaust documentary Memory of the Camps:
Back in 1945, when Hitchcock reviewed the footage (at the request of friend Sidney Bernstein) from the British and Soviet units who captured the German forces despicable warfare on film, the director ended up leaving Pinewood Studios rather disturbed and didn't return for a week. At the time, the Allies hoped to use the film to force the German people to see their army's actions and confront the atrocities, but delays led to a reconsideration and five of the six reels ended up in London’s Imperial War Museum until they were shown in 1984, which means this is only an incomplete version of the documentary.
However, for film purists and cinephiles out there, there might be a better way to see the film in the future. Independent announced last week that the documentary will be re-released with a sixth reel to accompany the original five reels unearthed in 1984. In addition, a companion documentary called Night Will Fall (from producer André Singer (The Act of Killing) and directorial advisor Stephen Frears) about the film itself will focus on the film Hitchcock made with Sidney Bernstein and will accompany the film in subsequent screenings and airings. This restored and expanded feature will hit British television in early 2015 but there will be theatrical and festival screenings before then. Stay tuned for more.