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Film Archive’s Hitchcock Series Draws Crowds from Across Boston Area

By Tyler S. B. Olkowski, Contributing Writer

Students, faculty, and members of the Cambridge community filled the Carpenter Center auditorium on Friday evening for a screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Strangers on a Train,” part of a three-month series at the Harvard Film Archive entitled “The Complete Alfred Hitchcock.”

The retrospective, which includes new restorations of Hitchcock’s first nine silent films as well as better-known classics such as “Psycho” and “Birds,” has attracted film enthusiasts from across the Boston area, including high schoolers and students from neighboring universities.

Joshua L. H. Weiner, a senior at Tufts, attended the screening to complement a class he is currently taking on Hitchcock’s films.

“This is my favorite of the Hitchcock films I’ve seen,” Weiner said.

As fewer theaters now feature classic films, audience members on Friday seized the opportunity to view Hitchcock’s work on the big screen.

“Any time I get to see [Hitchcock] in a theater, I have to take advantage of it,” said Katrina Jazeyeri, a Somerville resident.

“A lot of these films haven’t been shown in Boston or Cambridge in a few years,” said David W. Pendleton, the programmer at the Harvard Film Archive who arranged the screenings.

“I love Hitchcock, so when I heard this was going on, I thought I would definitely come,”  Rachel A. Orol ’15 said. A first-time visitor to the archives, Orol remarked that it was “an ideal way to spend an evening.”

Pendleton said that he enjoyed passing on to the next generation “the idea of what it’s like to watch a film on 35 millimeter on the big screen.”

The program was motivated by the British Film Institute’s restoration of some of Hitchcock’s earliest works, which has drawn renewed excitement around Hitchcock’s films. Although the director’s nine silent films are less well known, they represent some of the greatest achievements in early British cinema.

Pendleton said that “The Complete Alfred Hitchcock” plays into the mission of the Harvard Film Archive to “encourage people to take film seriously…as works of art.” In the past few years, the Archive has featured programs that highlighted other directors and plans to continue to do so.

This series comes to an end next weekend, with the showings of “Suspicion” and “Shadow of a Doubt” on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

The Harvard Film Archive is also currently showing a series entitled “Nuove Visioni: Italian Cinema Now” that will continue through the end of September.

The archive plans to switch gears in October, when it will feature several documentaries, including a few non-fiction films by director Chris Marker.

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