The Pleasure Garden (1926)

Alfred Hitchcock’s directorial debut, made when he was 25, follows the love lives of two dancers at a London nightspot.

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Alternative titles

  • Irrgarten Der Leidenschaft Alternative German


The diverging lives of two dancers are told in melodramatic style in Alfred Hitchcock’s debut feature. One becomes a major star, while the other stumbles into a marriage with a dangerous womaniser, who cheats on his wife when abroad in an unnamed colony.

Although set in London, the film was shot in Germany and on Lake Como. The opening sequence anticipates the some of the elements that characterised his later work, as the camera lingers on the legs of a group of chorus girls, a spectator leers and the viewer is implicated in the voyeurism. Hitchcock insisted his handwritten signature be featured in the credits, claiming, “Actors come and actors go, but the name of the director should stay clearly in the mind of the audiences”.

Shady goings-on in the underworld of London’s nightclubs would appear again in EA Dupont’s Piccadilly (1929), with an incandescent performance from Anna May Wong.

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