Number 13 (1922)
Alfred Hitchcock got his first chance to direct a film in 1922 on the silent film “Number 13.” After only a few shots were done, however, the budget fell apart and the film was pulled from production. Unfortunately, like many films of that era, the footage has been lost long ago.
The screenplay was said to have been written by Anita Ross, a woman employed at the Islington studio. Years later, in an interview, Hitchcock said that she claimed at the time to have some kind of professional association with Charlie Chaplin.
The story was about a low-income group of residents occupying a building financed by the Peabody Trust. The Trust was to have been founded by an American banker-philanthropist, George Foster Peabody, to offer housing to needy Londoners.
Actors Clare Greet and Ernest Theisiger were to be the husband and wife stars of the film. Hitchcock was never known to talk about the film until Donald Spoto, his biographer, asked him about his early films. Hitchcock, in the film, said that “Number 13” it was a “somewhat chastening experience.”
It is unclear exactly what Hitchcock meant by this comment, but it is known that the lead actress, Clare Greet, wound up financing the production with her own money. Before Greet’s contribution, Hitchcock’s uncle John had also provided funds.
Hitchcock never forgot Greet’s generosity. She was cast in more films than any other performer except Leo G. Carroll, who also appeared in six of Hitchcock’s films). Greet appeared in The Ring, 1927, The Manxman, 1929, Murder, 1930, The Man who Knew Too much 1934, Sabotage 1936 and Jamaica Inn 1939.
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