The Bioscope, or dial of life, explained

The book which gave us the word ‘bioscope’ is available to download for free from the Internet Archive. The full title of Granville Penn’s 1812 religious tract is The bioscope, or dial of life, explained. To which is added, a translation of St. Paulinus’s Epistle to Celantia, on the rule of Christian life: and an elementary view of general chronology; with a perpetual solar and lunar calendar. It’s available in DjVu (9MB), PDF (21MB) or plain text (340KB) formats. For further information on Penn’s definition of the term, see the post from 6 February 2007.

The silent films of Alfred Hitchcock


I’m still experimenting with what The Bioscope should be doing, and I’ve decided to ditch the Lists section. Other more suitable Pages will be introduced in due course. Meanwhile, I’ve moved the one filmography that was under Lists to here. And so…

Here is a complete listing of Alfred Hitchcock’s silent film work, including his apprentice work at the Famous Players-Lasky British studio where he only designed titles, up to Blackmail, his last silent and first sound film. Noted are his credits for each film, and whether or not it is known to survive. All are feature-length except Number Thirteen and Always Tell Your Wife, which were both two-reelers.

1920 The Great Day (titles) [lost]

1920 The Call of Youth (titles) [lost]

1921 The Princess of New York (titles) [lost]

1921 Appearances (titles) [lost]

1921 Dangerous Lies (titles) [lost]

1921 The Mystery Road (titles) [lost]

1921 Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush (titles) [lost]

1922 Three Live Ghosts (titles) [lost]

1922 Perpetua (titles) [lost]

1922 The Man from Home (titles) [lost]

1922 Spanish Jade (titles) [lost]

1922 Tell Your Children (titles) [lost]

1922 Number Thirteen (director/film unfinished) [lost]

1923 Always Tell Your Wife (co-replacement director) [one reel of two survives]

1923 Woman to Woman (co-script, assistant director, art director) [lost]

1923 The Prude’s Fall (script, assistant director, art director) [survives incomplete]

1924 The Passionate Adventure (co-script, assistant director, art director) [survives]

1924 The Blackguard (script, assistant director, art director) [survives]

1924 The White Shadow (art director) [lost] [update – discovered in 2011, see comments]

1925 The Pleasure Garden (director) [survives]

1926 The Mountain Eagle (director) [lost]

1926 The Lodger (director, actor) [survives]

1927 Downhill (director) [survives]

1927 Easy Virtue (director) [survives]

1927 The Ring (director, screenplay) [survives]

1927 The Farmer’s Wife (director) [survives]

1928 Champagne (director, adaptation) [survives]

1929 The Manxman (director) [survives]

1929 Blackmail (director, adaptation, actor) [silent and sound versions were made, both survive]

None of the films that Hitchcock did the titles for are known to survive. It is unclear whether the one reel that survives of Always Tell Your Wife features Hitchcock’s work or not. Around 2,000ft of The Prude’s Fall survives. The Passionate Adventure survives in a German titled version. There are at least two different prints of The Pleasure Garden in existence, a print which was shown a few years ago on Danish television being different in a number of respects to that in the BFI National Archive. Easy Virtue seems to exist only in 16mm. The Mountain Eagle is the only silent feature film directed by Hitchcock which remains lost. There are some striking stills from the production reproduced in Dan Aulier’s Hitchcock’s Secret Notebooks. All of Hitchcock’s extant silent work is available on videotape or DVD, with the exception of Always Tell Your Wife.

For more information, see Charles Barr’s English Hitchcock, Marc Raymond Strauss’ Alfred Hitchcock’s Silent Films, or the catalogue for the 1999 Giornate del Cinema Muto, which featured a retrospective of all Hitchcock’s extant silent films.

Playground rhyme

This playground rhyme was (is?) sung by South African children:

Skinny-malinky long legs
Big banana feet
Went to the bioscope
And fell through the seat.

Bioscope is still the name for a cinema in South Africa.