Even the master of horror & suspense, filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock knew where to draw the line when it came to frightful imagery. Case in point: a documentary titled “Memory of the Camps“, which details the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime. Memory of the Camps is a film that was too disturbing to be released in the 1940’s, but is now slated for release upon the completion of the restoration process.
Alfred Hitchcock was enlisted in 1945 to direct the completion of the documentary by utilizing footage shot by British and Soviet film units. The footage of the death camps were so disturbing to the horror director that he had difficulty completing the project. Originally the allies were going to use the film to bully the German people into accepting responsibility for all the murder that was right at their doorstep, but the film wasn’t completed fast enough and as the political climate changed, the project was suppressed. Five of the film’s six reels were archived with the Imperial War Museums and quickly forgotten.
An American researcher re-discovered the footage in the 1980’s. The incomplete version of the movie was eventually screened at the 1984 Berlin Film Festival and the following year on PBS in the United States, but still missing the sixth reel.
Restoration & Exhibition
In a move that will likely spark debate, the restoration and exhibition of Memory of the Camps is scheduled for Broadcast in the UK next year, in honor of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Europe. Dr. Toby Haggith, a senior curator at the Imperial War Museums, in an interview with the Independent said, “the digital restoration has made this material seem very fresh … one of the common remarks was that [the film] was both terrible and brilliant at the same time.”
Memory of the Camps is a working title, previously used for its 1980’s exhibitions.
You can watch the incomplete version of the film at PBS and on DVD.
Sources: The Guardian | Philly.com | MovieFone | The Independent