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Early silent films by Alfred Hitchcock, seen here in 1926 with his wife Alma Reville, are deteriorating and in need of restoration, according to the British Film Institute. ((E. Bacon/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images))

With the original negatives for some of Alfred Hitchcock's early films deteriorating, the British Film Institute is calling on the public to "rescue" these movies through donations.

The heritage film body wants to raise £1 million (about $1.6 million Cdn) to restore nine of the legendary director's movies, including:

  • The Pleasure Garden
  • The Lodger
  • The Ring
  • Downhill
  • Easy Virtue
  • The Farmer's Wife
  • Champagne
  • The Manxman
  • Blackmail

The Pleasure Garden, released in 1925, was Hitchcock's directorial debut, and the eight subsequent films were produced from 1925 to 1929.

According to the BFI, a donation of £25 (about $40 Cdn) is enough to restore 50 cm of film, with £100,000 (about $161,000 Cdn) enough to restore an entire movie.

For every contribution of at least £5,000 (about $8,000 Cdn), the donor will receive an on-screen credit in the completed restoration.

If the fundraising campaign is successful, the group also hopes to commission a new film score for each movie as well.

Though Hitchcock's Hollywood thrillers like Psycho, Rear Window and The Birds continue to be screened regularly today, his early silent features have suffered from neglect, with one even considered lost completely, according to the film body.

That particular Hitchcock film — the Kentucky-set silent drama The Mountain Eagle, from 1926 — tops the BFI's recently released list of 75 "missing films" that it is searching for.

Released as part of the 75th anniversary of the BFI National Archive, the list names dozens of movies deemed of historic significance and for which original negatives are believed lost.

Since 1992, when the group first released a list of "missing" films, the BFI has recovered 16 and added them to its archive, which is the world's largest of its kind, encompassing 180,000 films and 750,000 TV programs.