Hanns-Georg Rodek, “Wie im Youtube-Zeitalter Filme verloren gehen,” WELT ONLINE, 07/01/2008 (in German)
Discussion of the legal situation of film archiving in Germany. Rodek argues that the current means are in no way sufficient and demands a statutory regularisation for the archiving of films.
Hans Schmid, “Die große Filmsuche rund um die Welt,” telepolis, 10/02/2008 (in German)
Using the case of the first (known) Frankenstein film and its owner Alois Felix Dettlaff Sr. as an example, Schmid illustrates the reasons, problems, and challenges of lost films.
Mary Ann Cade, “The Lost Films Files: Searching Archives for Films that are Presumed Lost,” Silents Are Golden, 2004
A personal account of tracking down lost films in archives all over the world from 2004. Includes a list of the films that were found, whether in whole or in part, and the name and location of the archive where each film is held.
Paolo Cabrelli, “Sunken Treasure: The Drowned World of Lost Films,” Film Slash, undated.
Article on the subject of lost films, particularly concentrating on those films that were never made, never completed or never released.
Darragh O'Donoghue, “Paradise Regained: Queen Kelly and the Lure of the 'Lost' Film,” Senses of Cinema, July 2003
An analysis of the Erich von Stroheim/Gloria Swanson collaboration from 1928 that was originally never completed but 'reconstructed' in 1985 and released on DVD by Kino in 2003. Includes a long meditation on the issue of lost films at the beginning and defines six basic types of lost film.
Trevor Dorman, “A Guide to the Lost Films of Laurel and Hardy – Update,” Laurel and Hardy Magazine website, 2007
Revised overview of the lost films of popular Anglo-American comedy duo, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, notable for combining text with still images and video content. Includes detailed information on the condition and whereabouts of the only known surviving material from these films. Part 1 of Dorman's original article, concentrating on THE ROGUE SONG from 1930, is available here
“Lost film” page on Wikipedia
A concise introduction to the lost films issue put together for the popular, user generated, online encyclopaedia, Wikipedia.
THE CASE OF LENA SMITH (USA, 1929, dir. Josef von Sternberg)
The discovery in a Chinese flea market of a short fragment of von Sternberg's last silent film in 2003 sparked a renewed interest in the film and the question of 'lost films' in general. The following collection of links concentrate on this one example.
Alexander Horwath, Michael Omasta (eds.): “Josef von Sternberg - The Case of Lena Smith,” Synema, Vienna, 2007 (in German).
Information on the Austrian Filmmuseum's website concerning its 304 page, dual language (German/English) publication. The publication presents an extensive collection of primary documents together with new analytical essays in an attempt to reconstruct the (hi)story of the film.
Andreas Busche, “Josef von Sternbergs Erbe,” taz, 26.10.2007
Review of the publication "Josef von Sternberg The Case of Lena Smith" enlarged upon a more general discussion of the problems of lost films.
Le Giornate del Cinema Muto XXII / 22nd Pordenone Silent Film Festival, Sacile, 11-18th October 2003
Such was the significance of its rediscovery that the recently recovered fragment of LENA SMITH was hastily presented as a 'surprise film' on the penultimate day of the 22nd Pordenone Silent Film Festival in Sacile, Italy, on Friday 17th October 2003. This entry from the festivals online catalogue includes a short statement by the man responsible for the discovery, Hiroshi Kamatsu.
THE CASE OF LENA SMITH (aka “Eine Nacht im Prater”) on Wikipedia (in German)
Information about the film and the rediscovered fragment put together for the German edition of Wikipedia. An English language page is also available but is much shorter and contains no information about the rediscovered fragment.
Exhibitions and Festivals:
Missing Presumed Lost: New Zealand's vanished film treasures 1914-1936
Official announcement on the New Zealand Film Archive's website of an exhibition on lost films, which opened there in June 2006.
The Bioscope Festival of Lost Films.
Tongue-in-cheek account of the fictional “... world's first festival of lost films,” which took place at six similarly lost venues across London between 14th and 18th January 2008. 'Organised' by Dr. Luke McKernon, curator of moving image at the British Library in London.
Lists of Lost Films:
Phil Hall, “Film Threat's Top 10 Lost Films,” film threat, 28/01/2001
Ten of the most sought after lost films compiled for the alternative online film magazine, Film Threat, in 2001. Provides concise background information for each film and possible reasons for why it is lost.
“Remembrance Wall: Presumed Lost” on the Moving Image Collections (MIC) portal.
A self-confessed 'work-in-progress', which aims to, “... highlight a few of the treasures considered lost from the early decades of movie-making.” An extended introduction provides information on the subject of lost films, including a number of explanations why so many films are now lost (2006).
“Lost Films” on The Moving Image Collections (MIC) Portal
List of lost films originally proposed for the launch of the Moving Image Collections (MIC) online portal by its education and outreach committee in 2003. A separate list of 'found films' is also available..
“Presumed Lost” on Silent Era
List of films from the silent era (1895-1930 approx), which are known or believed to be lost. The list is regularly maintained and updated by Silent Era website editor, Carl Bennett.
“List of lost films” on Wikipedia
A list of lost films compiled on Wikipedia.
Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv is the biggest film archive in Germany. It offers filmmakers free storage of their films. The search for lost films in the Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv's inventory is ongoing and several lists of lost films can be viewed on the archive's website.
Register of Lost and Missing Australian Documentary Heritage from the Australian 'Memory of the World'.
A preliminary list of Australia's significant documentary heritage that is either missing or believed to be lost. Contains links to a number of articles and reports on the project.
“Missing Believed Lost” list on britishpictures.com
In 1992 the BFI initiated a worldwide search for lost British films and, as part of this, published the book 'Missing Believed Lost', which listed and described 92 of the most sought after films. (See also 'printed publications' below). The BFI did not publish the results online so concerned British film fan, David Absalom, took it upon himself to do so via his own website in the hope the results would reach a wider audience. Also included is a separate list of titles submitted by site visitors, which were not featured in the BFI's original list.
“Mancunian Film Corporation: Missing Films” on britishpictures.com
List of films originally produced by the Manchester-based Mancunian Film Corporation from the 1930s to the 1950s, now considered lost. Also includes a separate list of films produced by the same company, which have only survived in bad quality or truncated prints, sparking the question: What is a lost film?
- Individual or technology specific:
“The Lost Films” on John Barrymore.co.uk
List of thirteen lost films starring American film and theatre actor, John Barrymore, compiled by a fan. Includes a short description of each film, as well as an accompanying image taken from surviving documents.
“The Silent Films of Alfred Hitchcock” on the Bioscope
List of the silent films on which British film-maker Alfred Hitchcock is believed to have worked, whether as title designer, script writer, art director, assistant director or director. The list was compiled by Dr. Luke McKernon on his blog, The Bioscope. Those films, which are considered lost are clearly marked as such.
Douglas Fairbanks Sr. Filmography
List of films starring silent screen legend, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. compiled by the Douglas Fairbanks Museum, an organisation set up in 1998 by a small group of fans in America. Those films, which are unavailable or considered lost, are marked with an asterisk.
List of films produced using the Vitaphone sound-on-disc process from 1925 to 1935 compiled by a private collector. Those, which are considered lost, are highlighted in red.
The Key to Reserva (Spain, 2007, dir. Martin Scorsese)
Director Martin Scorsese discovers three and a half pages of an unfilmed Hitchcock script at the Universal Studios archive and attempts to remake it himself as a tribute to his idol. This short documentary-cum-reconstruction presents the results... with a dark comic twist worthy of the Master of Suspense himself.
Nitrate Film Interest Group's FLICKR page
An account set up by the Nitrate Film Interest Group (part of the Association of Moving Image Archivists) on popular photo sharing platform, FLICKR, to help archives identify unknown films in their collection. Users can upload individual images or even small video clips for others to view and comment upon in the hope of identifying the films. To aid their efforts, and to help them reach a wider audience, we have also included the uploaded material here with the Group's permission.
Recherche des films perdus (in French)
In the 1990s, Italian film historians, Gian Luca Farinelli and Vittorio Martinelli, commenced a worldwide 'Search for Lost Films', supported by the EU's Lumière project. This dossier, put together in February 1996, presents the names and whereabouts of the films that were identified as a result of their search.
“Schlemmer Frames Collection” at the Austrian Filmmuseum, Vienna
For the past year, archivists Paolo Canneppelle and Matteo Lepore have been working hard to identify and catalogue an impressive collection of film frames held at the Austrian Filmmuseum. Digitised images of all 2248 frames will soon be made available to the public via an online database so that experts worldwide can help identify the outstanding frames.
Mancunian Studios – Missing Films
Between 1927 and 1953 the Mancunian Film Company produced over sixty films, of which more than half were feature films. Many are now considered lost. One of the most sought after is SOMEWHERE IN POLITICS from 1948. This website, maintained by Dr. C. P. Lee of the University of Salford in England, presents surviving archival documents in the hope that visitors may recognise the film and uncover it.
Allen Ayles, David Meeker (eds.), Missing Believed Lost: The Great British Film Search, BFI, 1992
Frank T. Thompson, Lost Films: Important Movies That Disappeared, Citadel Press, 1996
Harry Waldman, Missing Reels: Lost Films of American and European Cinema, McFarland & Co Inc, 2000
The “Lost” Charlie Chan Film Scripts on The Charlie Chan Family website
Between 1931 and 1942, Swedish actor Warner Oland portrayed writer Earl Derr Bigger's creation of Chinese-American detective, Charlie Chan, in sixteen popular films for the Fox film corporation. Four of the earliest films are today considered lost. This website presents the scripts of all four films, illustrating them with surviving stills at appropriate points.
Brooks Boliek, “Lost silent films uncovered in Australia,” Reuters, 23/04/2008
Eight American silent films, previously believed lost, have been identified in the collection of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia in Canberra. This year the films were preserved as part of a program entitled “Film Connection: Australia-America”, designed to highlight the fact that film heritage is an international concern. This article discusses the discovery and profiles each of the films in turn. The official media release from Australia's Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts is also available.
Stephen Adams, “Lost film footage of Edwardian London discovered,” Telegraph.co.uk, 24/10/2008
Whilst conducting research in Australia, British film historian, Ian Christie, recently uncovered a surviving print of the once-thought-lost 1904 travelogue film, LIVING LONDON. The film was presented, along with 14 others, at a special outdoor screening in Trafalgar Square in London on Friday 24th October this year, during the 52nd London Film Festival. This article also includes scenes from the film in Flash Video format.
Hoaxes and Jokes
Michael Gebert, “Mike's London After Midnight Myths Page,” 2000
Tod Browning's LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT (US, 1927), starring “the man with a thousand faces” Lon Chaney, is one of the most sought after lost films... or is it? This self confessed 'prank site' uses a number of elaborate examples to convince readers that the film is, in fact, not lost before revealing the truth. Many apocryphal stories about this film's survival and rediscovery have appeared over the years, the most recent of which emerged on a horror movie message forum this summer [http://thehorrordrunx.yuku.com/topic/753].
“Press Release – Lost Films Rediscovered” on the AMIA list
On April 1st (appropriately: April Fools' day) 2004, Dr. Leo Enticknap posted this humourous item on the Assosiation of Moving Image Archivists' mailing list. The post details the “shock rediscovery of the world's oldest porn movies” in Middlesborough, a town in the North East of England. The films were the work of Cyril Hewerth – a see-through parody of pioneer British filmmaker, Cecil Hepworth.
“So, I've found a lost film...” on Criterion Forum, 07/10/2007
Last year, an anonymous figure caught the attention of the archive world when he announced he had found a print of Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau's lost second American film, FOUR DEVILS (1928). It all started with a post on Criterion Forum, a website devoted to news concerning upcoming release from US DVD label Criterion. You can view the full thread here.
On the Lost Films project
Lost Films – Verlorene Stummfilme, mephisto 97.6 online, 26/03/2008
Lost Films – Verschollene Filme, inforadio rbb, 27/10/08
Interview with Lost Films project leader, Jürgen Keiper, on the occasion of the UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage. Click on 'audio' to hear the interview (in German).