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Hitchcock’s oldest extant work, “The White Shadow,” discovered in New Zealand

Hitchcock’s oldest extant work, “The White Shadow,” discovered in New Zealand (photo)

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Alfred Hitchcock’s 1925 film “The Pleasure Garden” is generally recognized to be his first work as a credited director. But for years prior, the film legend worked as both art director and assistant director on a number of silent films. Now, one of those movies, “The White Shadow,” has been unearthed in New Zealand, and it is thought to be Hitchcock’s oldest surviving film.

A silent British melodrama starring Betty Compson, “The White Shadow,” known as “White Shadows” on this side of the Atlantic, told the story of two twins – one good and one evil, but both played by Compson. Hitchcock was only 24-years-old when he collaborated with Graham Cutts on the film, working as assistant director, art director, editor and writer.

“The White Shadow” we believed lost up until recently, when the first three reels of the original six were found sealed away in the New Zealand Film Archive in Wellington, constituting the only known copy of the early Hitchcock film. The reels were part of a collection owned by Jack Murtagh, which was sent to the NZFA following the death of the collector and projectionist in 1989.

David Sterritt, chairman of the National Society of Film Critics and the author of “The Films of Alfred Hitchcock,” expressed his excitement over the discovery, stating that the reels “offer a priceless opportunity to study [Hitchcock’s] visual and narrative ideas when they were first taking shape.”

The original “White Shadow” reels will be maintained at Park Road Post Production in New Zealand, while an exhibition print is sent stateside to tie into plans for a “re-premiere” screening of the early film.

Are you excited about this lost Hitchcock film? What’s your favorite movie by the legendary director? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter!

Soap tv show

As the Spoof Turns

15 Hilarious Soap Opera Parodies

Catch the classic sitcom Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures Television

The soap opera is the indestructible core of television fandom. We celebrate modern series like The Wire and Breaking Bad with their ongoing storylines, but soap operas have been tangling more plot threads than a quilt for decades. Which is why pop culture enjoys parodying them so much.

Check out some of the funniest soap opera parodies below, and be sure to catch Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

1. Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

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Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman was a cult hit soap parody from the mind of Norman Lear that poked daily fun at the genre with epic twists and WTF moments. The first season culminated in a perfect satire of ratings stunts, with Mary being both confined to a psychiatric facility and chosen to be part of a Nielsen ratings family.


2. IKEA Heights

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IKEA Heights proves that the soap opera is alive and well, even if it has to be filmed undercover at a ready-to-assemble furniture store totally unaware of what’s happening. This unique webseries brought the classic formula to a new medium. Even IKEA saw the funny side — but has asked that future filmmakers apply through proper channels.


3. Fresno

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When you’re parodying ’80s nighttime soaps like Dallas and Dynasty , everything about your show has to equally sumptuous. The 1986 CBS miniseries Fresno delivered with a high-powered cast (Carol Burnett, Teri Garr and more in haute couture clothes!) locked in the struggle for the survival of a raisin cartel.


4. Soap

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Soap was the nighttime response to daytime soap operas: a primetime skewering of everything both silly and satisfying about the source material. Plots including demonic possession and alien abduction made it a cult favorite, and necessitated the first televised “viewer discretion” disclaimer. It also broke ground for featuring one of the first gay characters on television in the form of Billy Crystal’s Jodie Dallas. Revisit (or discover for the first time) this classic sitcom every Saturday morning on IFC.


5. Too Many Cooks

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Possibly the most perfect viral video ever made, Too Many Cooks distilled almost every style of television in a single intro sequence. The soap opera elements are maybe the most hilarious, with more characters and sudden shocking twists in an intro than most TV scribes manage in an entire season.


6. Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace

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Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace was more mockery than any one medium could handle. The endless complications of Darkplace Hospital are presented as an ongoing horror soap opera with behind-the-scenes anecdotes from writer, director, star, and self-described “dreamweaver visionary” Garth Marenghi and astoundingly incompetent actor/producer Dean Learner.


7. “Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive,” MadTV

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Soap opera connoisseurs know that the most melodramatic plots are found in Korea. MADtv‘s parody Tae Do  (translation: Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive) features the struggles of mild-mannered characters with far more feelings than their souls, or subtitles, could ever cope with.


8. Twin Peaks

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Twin Peaks, the twisted parody of small town soaps like Peyton Place whose own creator repeatedly insists is not a parody, has endured through pop culture since it changed television forever when it debuted in 1990. The show even had it’s own soap within in a soap called…


9. “Invitation to Love,” Twin Peaks

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Twin Peaks didn’t just parody soap operas — it parodied itself parodying soap operas with the in-universe show Invitation to Love. That’s more layers of deceit and drama than most televised love triangles.


10. “As The Stomach Turns,” The Carol Burnett Show

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The Carol Burnett Show poked fun at soaps with this enduring take on As The World Turns. In a case of life imitating art, one story involving demonic possession would go on to happen for “real” on Days of Our Lives.


11. Days of our Lives (Friends Edition)

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Still airing today, Days of Our Lives is one of the most famous soap operas of all time. They’re also excellent sports, as they allowed Friends star Joey Tribbiani to star as Dr Drake Ramoray, the only doctor to date his own stalker (while pretending to be his own evil twin). And then return after a brain-transplant.

And let’s not forget the greatest soap opera parody line ever written: “Come on Joey, you’re going up against a guy who survived his own cremation!”


12. Acorn Antiques

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First appearing on the BBC sketch comedy series Victoria Wood As Seen on TV, Acorn Antiques combines almost every low-budget soap opera trope into one amazing whole. The staff of a small town antique store suffer a disproportional number of amnesiac love-triangles, while entire storylines suddenly appear and disappear without warning or resolution. Acorn Antiques was so popular, it went on to become a hit West End musical.


13. “Point Place,” That 70s Show

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In a memorable That ’70s Show episode, an unemployed Red is reduced to watching soaps all day. He becomes obsessed despite the usual Red common-sense objections (like complaining that it’s impossible to fall in love with someone in a coma). His dreams render his own life as Point Place, a melodramatic nightmare where Kitty leaves him because he’s unemployed. (Click here to see all airings of That ’70s Show on IFC.)


14. The Spoils of Babylon

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Bursting from the minds of Will Ferrell and creators Andrew Steele and Matt Piedmont, The Spoils of Babylon was a spectacular parody of soap operas and epic mini-series like The Thorn Birds. Taking the parody even further, Ferrell himself played Eric Jonrosh, the author of the book on which the series was based. Jonrosh returned in The Spoils Before Dying, a jazzy murder mystery with its own share of soapy twists and turns.

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15. All My Children Finale, SNL

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SNL‘s final celebration of one of the biggest soaps of all time is interrupted by a relentless series of revelations from stage managers, lighting designers, make-up artists, and more. All of whom seem to have been married to or murdered by (or both) each other.

Kyle MacLachlan as Portlandia Mayor for Facebook Q&A

Man of the People

Check Out Highlights From Kyle MacLachlan’s Facebook Q&A

Catch Kyle MacLachlan on a brand-new Portlandia this Thursday, Feb. 4th at 10P on IFC.

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On this week’s brand-new Portlandia, Fred leaves Portland for the ex-pat life. One thing he’s likely to miss is Portland’s mayor, ably played by the amazing Kyle MacLachlan. Fortunately for us, Kyle took to Facebook to answer questions about Portland’s rat problem, tasty coffee and much more. (There’s even a David Lynch reference in there for hardcore fans.)

Check out some highlights from Kyle MacLachlan’s Facebook Q&A below, and be sure to catch him on a brand-new Portlandia this Thursday at 10P on IFC. (Click here to find IFC on your TV in your area.)

1. “Is the pay better as mayor or a federal agent? Asking for a friend.”

KM: the FBI pays pretty well…and the coffee’s good

2. “What’s the longest time you have waited in line for brunch?”

KM: 3 days

3. “Serious question: how much coffee is too much coffee?”

KM: I’ll let you know when I get there.

4. “Dear Mr. Mayor, What do you think about Portland’s hipster rat problem? How will it be fixed? Do you think everyone can live happily together?”

KM: as long as the rats wear some form of hat/cap/snood…there should be no problem.

5. “I found a human ear in the park. What should I do with it?”

KM: bag and tag

6. “When are you going to be a guest on The Pedal Powered Talk Show? It’s America’s only talk show on a bicycle and you’re America’s only Kyle MacLachlan!”

KM: could I use a seat cushion?

“YES! Let us know when you’re in Portland next! We’ll pedal to you!”

KM: you got it!

7. “With mayorial [sic] elections coming up in 2016, the role of fictitious mayors has become increasingly important for our fair citizens in Portland. How will you attempt to influence the election in favor of the collective ideals of Portlandia and its world citizens? Thank you and best of luck.”

KM: what was the question again?

8. “the ‘my portland’ song is probably one of my favourite clips of portlandia / tv in general. Were you at all nervous at all having to make up the song on the spot?”

KM: terrified. and thank you :-)

9. “Does Portlandia want to become a sister city with Honolulu? I’d love to see that happen :-) Sending love from Hawaii! Can’t wait to visit the city!”

KM: mahalo!

10. “With the influx of people moving to the area from neighboring states, how will you, the mayor, handle presmoerving the super awkward moments on the Tri-met? Why haven’t you shown the true awkwardness that is the max lines?”

KM: I will speak to Fred…I’m sure he’s already planning something.

Want more Portlandia? Catch up on full episodes right here on IFC.com and on the IFC App.

David Cross and Seth Meyers on Late Late Show

Whimsical Chairs

Watch David Cross Engage Seth Meyers In an Epic Stand-Off

Catch the final three episodes of Todd Margaret season three this Thursday, January 14th at 10P ET/PT.

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Photo Credit: tLate Night with Seth Meyers / NBC

Here’s a tip for any budding late night hosts who are trying to break into the business: Never let a guest learn the program’s stringent rules on etiquette, lest they use it to their advantage. Case in point: Last night, Todd Margaret star David Cross stopped by the Late Night set to chat with Seth Meyers about the third season of the IFC series in what was to be, for all intents and purposes, a normal interview setting. But prior to his appearance, Cross learned one crucial rule: The host cannot sit down before the guest. And if the host must be as uncomfortable in their respective stations as the guest, well, then there’s fun to be had.

Watch David Cross guilt Seth Meyers into standing, squatting, and discussing David’s unique body hair grooming regimen in the video below. And be sure to catch the final three episodes of Todd Margaret this Thursday, January 14th starting at 10P ET/PT.

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