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Holy Grail of "lost" films

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by ljgranberry, May 11, 2014.

  1. ljgranberry

    ljgranberry Well-Known Member

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    The recent thread on John Wayne's "The Alamo" got me to thinking of films not only not on blu-ray, but which are either partially or totally "lost." My top 5 of "lost" films:

    1. The Alamo (1960) Directed by John Wayne. The recent thread indicates the travesty MGM visited upon this film. Pray there's a complete roadshow copy in a film archive or in the hands of a private collector who will be generous enough to donate for preservation.

    2. The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970) Directed by Billy Wilder. Wilder's masterpiece, cut by the studio upon it's initial premiere. Doubtful it exists in a complete form, but I continue to hold out hope.

    3. The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) Directed by Orson Welles. The Holy Grail of lost film holy grails.

    4. A New Leaf (1971) Directed by Elaine May. Cut by Paramount after it's premiere. Very little is known if May's 3-hour cut still exists.

    5. Greed (1925) Directed by Erich Von Stroheim. Only in my dreams, I'm afraid.

    I want to hear other Forum members lists - let's get a huge wish list going and hope that at least one of these can be found and preserved.
     
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  2. Andrew Budgell

    Andrew Budgell Well-Known Member

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    My personal holy grail is Joseph L. Mankiewicz's six hour director's cut of Cleopatra (1963).

    Mankiewicz wanted to release two three-hour films, Caesar and Cleopatra and Antony and Cleopatra. The studio, however, wanted to capitalize on the Taylor and Burton affair ("Le Scandale", as Burton dubbed it), and because Burton is barely in the first half of the film and the couple might not be together when the Antony film was finally released, Zanuck forced Mankiewicz to release it as one film, and two hours of character development was left on the cutting room floor. A worldwide search in the 90's yielded only a few things: What would have been our first glimpse of Elizabeth as Cleopatra, divining the future, and an extended version of the entrance into Rome.

    For those who want to learn more about what this film could have been, check out my friend's web site here. He uses the original script and photographs to piece the film back together.
     
  3. Richard M S

    Richard M S Well-Known Member

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    Well Greta Garbo's 1928 film THE DIVINE WOMAN would be a great find; only a 9 minute segment exists.

    The (really) complete A STAR IS BORN from 1954, without those stills, would be great to see as well.
     
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  4. ScottHM

    ScottHM Well-Known Member

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    Warner Oland is by far my favorite Charlie Chan, and four of his first five Chan films are lost:

    Charlie Chan Carries OnCharlie Chan's ChanceCharlie Chan's Greatest CaseCharlie Chan's Courage

    ---------------
     
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  5. ljgranberry

    ljgranberry Well-Known Member

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    Richard, rumors persist the complete STAR IS BORN is in the hands of a private collector who will not release the film. One can still hope...
     
  6. rsmithjr

    rsmithjr Well-Known Member

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    At one time, if I had such a thing in my possession, I would have released it to the studio immediately.

    Twenty years ago, I thought the studios had learned their lesson in preservation.

    At present, I don't know what I would do. I have lost faith that the studio (even Warners!) would do something reasonable with it. Would it sit in the vault like The Wonderful World of the Brother's Grimm? Would it remain unreleased on Blu-ray like dozens of Warner properties purported to be ready to go? Or would they treat it like MGM treated The Alamo and ruin it through poor storage? Or would they hand it to a revisionist colorist for tealification?

    The above are not old, historical events like Fox destroying its nitrate or RKO throwing things into the ocean. They are relatively new, and even ongoing, events.
     
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  7. classicmovieguy

    classicmovieguy Well-Known Member

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  8. MatthewA

    MatthewA Well-Known Member

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    Well said, Robert. I dread the thought of what would happen if no one were alive who still knew how to handle film properly.
     
  9. ahollis

    ahollis Well-Known Member

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    That is a scary thought that may be true in 20 years.
     
  10. ljgranberry

    ljgranberry Well-Known Member

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    I know - it scares me to death what damage is going on that we aren't yet aware of.
     
  11. Jim*Tod

    Jim*Tod Well-Known Member

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    I wish someone would release the two Jan Troell films THE EMIGRANTS and THE NEW WORLD. These are two remarkable films from the 70's which have never released on either dvd or blu ray. I assume there are some complicated rights issues, but these are classics that rank with THE GODFATHER films in terms of their quality and deserve to be widely seen.
     
  12. ljgranberry

    ljgranberry Well-Known Member

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    I have been hoping for years that these would show up on a Criterion Collection release.
     
  13. ahollis

    ahollis Well-Known Member

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    THE ROGUE SONG, of course.
     
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  14. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Well-Known Member

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    If I had the power to "find" one lost film it would be Lon Chaney's A BLIND BARGAIN. Second would be F.W. Murnau's DER JANUSKOPF.

    I do believe that a lot of lost films are in the hands of collectors who simply get a thrill out of being the only one to own something. I've seen it with my very eyes when it comes to certain Bob Dylan concerts that are in the hands of collectors who don't want to share them. Many will take them to their graves before letting them out to the fans.
     
  15. MatthewA

    MatthewA Well-Known Member

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    I hope it doesn't come true until after I die. Of old age.
     
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  16. ahollis

    ahollis Well-Known Member

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    Me too.
     
  17. CinemaCynic

    CinemaCynic Active Member

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    Agree about 'Private Life.' Tho there is film of the 'Naked Honeymooners' sequence as well as the audio for 'the upside down room,' I'm hopeful some more material on that film turns up.

    My list includes a few 'no hopers,' unfortunately:


    The complete 'Sanshiro Sugata.'
    Michael Curtiz' 'Tenderloin'
    Von Stroheim's 'The Devil's Passkey'
    William Gillette in 'Sherlock Holmes'
    James Cruze's 'Hollywood'
    'Human Wreckage'
    Harry Beaumont's silent version of "Babbit'
    A complete print of Borzhege's 'The River'
    Murnau's '4 Devil's
    Von Sternberg's 'The Drag Net' & 'A Woman of the Sea'
    Wellman's 'Ladies of the Mob'
    'Thunder' with Lon Chaney
    Ford's 'Napoleon's Barber' and the rest of 'Mother Machree'
    'The Cat Creeps'
    'Convention City'
    'The Missing Rembrandt'

    Just a few off the top of my head, would be thrilled if even a single one turned up. London After Midnight would also be nice but that seems to pop up every April Fool's and disappear again by midnight before anyone can arrange a screening....
     
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  18. Kyrsten Brad

    Kyrsten Brad Well-Known Member

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    Brad here. Well my Holy Grail of films that I'd pay dearly for to have a well-produced Blu of is:

    Skatetown USA (1979).

    I have a whole thread on here dedicated to this film but I'll say here:
    1. It was Patrick Swayze's first feature role film
    2. Skatetown USA has NEVER been released on any home media (no VHS, Beta, LaserDisc or DVD) owing mainly to music rights issues. This film was chock full of hit tunes from the late 1970s (mostly 1979) that would probably cost a small fortune to obtain Blu-ray rights for. That and the fact that this is pretty much a niche film makes it very cost-ineffective to move to Blu. There was a brief note from Sony that they might make this film available but nothing as of this date.

     
  19. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    The Patriot.
     
  20. ahollis

    ahollis Well-Known Member

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    Knowing your love of films I assume the 1928 film. That's a thumps up.
     

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