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Lost Films Found (1 Viewer)

Joseph Goodman

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Feb 4, 2001
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Just finished watching that magnificent 1925 version of “Ben-Hur”, on Bluray, and must say that it is the best of the two classic versions. Still the spectacular chariot race, but a far more beautiful and moving story, which seems much more sophisticated (surprisingly considering it’s a silent version) and, of course, unrestrained pre-coder and interesting version, and with all the multitude of (Czech found) Technicolor sequences. Ramon Novarro makes a much more pleasing and dashing Ben-Hur . Great Carl Davis score, too. It really is a masterpiece of it’s time and a must-watch.

On the subject of the 1925 version, I recall reading claims years ago that the George Eastman House has a print with quite a bit of different footage than the currently circulating version; the difference that the Eastman House print is the original silent cut, while the version on most video releases is largely reconstructed from the sound re-issue. Can anyone more familiar with the film confirm/deny any of this?
 

azjazzman

Auditioning
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John
Yes, "Follow Thru" was screened to honor Buddy Rogers. He remembered how hot it was filming in Palm Springs in Technicolor and having to wear those wool sweaters. And I share your fond memories of William Bakewell introducing "The Bat Whispers", Sylvia Sidney being her irascible self at "Trail of the Lonesome Pine" and meeting Toby Wing, along with Marie Windsor, Eleanor Keaton and so many others.
FOLLOW THRU was 1st screened at Cinecon in 1980 in an original nitrate print. In 1994, it was a restored (safety) print.
 

Chris55

Agent
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chris
FOLLOW THRU was 1st screened at Cinecon in 1980 in an original nitrate print. In 1994, it was a restored (safety) print.
Yes, saw "Follow Thru" myself and was very impressed with both the Technicolor and picture quality. Noticed that Buddy Roger's complete version of "Close Harmony" (29) has been found and it was be great if they released that on a DVD / Blu Ray. These movies do sell and don't really know why they don't release them to the general public.

It must have been great to meet all those wonderful and talented people of yesteryear and wish I'd been there. Another thought lost film, which I acquired recently from the Oldies/ Alpha Video site, was the wonderful part-talkie, Tiffany's "Lucky Boy"(28) with the legendary George Jessel (the original choice for "The Jazz Singer" (27)). He sings four songs in it, even though, of course, he's no Jolson or Cantor. The print was "as is" on the DVD, but great to see it and had no idea of it's existence. The movie is mostly "talkie" and a "must see" for those interested.
 

Bert Greene

Supporting Actor
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Apr 1, 2004
Messages
992
Yep, a lot of people really use the word 'lost' pretty liberally. Personally, I'm usually thinking of three distinct categories at play. You have genuinely 'lost' films with no known existing prints, then you have super-rare films that are extant but generally don't circulate 'in the wild,' and then you have films that are ostensibly around (due to old rental or syndication prints) but are still tough-cookies to locate copies of.

Haven't generally had much trouble tracking down later fare, but when you get back to the 1930s, you start hitting a lot of these roadblocks. Often unexpected losses, like "Forgotten Faces" (1936-Par), starring Herbert Marshall and Gertrude Michael. Marshall and Michael made a fine co-star duo in the enjoyable, romantic WW1 spy drama "Till We Meet Again" (1936-Par) that same year, so I've always wanted to see the other film. But it seems truly missing-in-action. It also particularly kills me that "West of the Pecos" (1934-RKO), starring Richard Dix and Martha Sleeper, is gone. Not too many RKO's disappeared, and for me this one really stings. One oddity that I hope gets found is a little independent feature, "The Headleys at Home" (1938), starring Evelyn Venable and Grant Mitchell. It was supposed to be the beginning of a domestic comedy-drama series (influenced by the Jones Family at Fox...?), but it never went beyond this one initial feature. It seems like the kind of film that might have some print hiding away in a vault or in collectors' hands somewhere, so I still hope it turns up. Seems a little more likely than the long-lost "Dumbbells in Ermine" (1930-WB) showing up. And that one just HAS to be an all-time great film, with that title.

But there are also slews of surviving films that are nonetheless all but impossible to access. For example, I've always been curious to see "Three on a Honeymoon" (1934-Fox). It's a shipboard romance-comedy starring Sally Eilers, but her two leading male co-stars are Johnny Mack Brown and Charles Starrett, one year before each of them embarked on their long-running b-western series. In a similar vein, the same studio's "Ever Since Eve" (1934-Fox) gives George O'Brien one of his last non-western starring roles, alongside Mary Brian. I've had a herald/handbill to that film for decades, but never seen the film. "Mama Loves Papa" (1933-Par) was the first of that string of Charlie Ruggles - Mary Boland comedies (after they'd been paired up the previous year in support roles), but it seems like there's some rights situation with it. Like "June Moon" (1931-Par), I suppose. But at least that latter one gets run at festivals a bit. Even its b-remake with Eleanore Whitney got screened recently as well, I believe. Whatever the case, there's still a pretty large batch of these films, and few outlets for them to be seen.

Going down the food-chain, there are finally some films that are ostensibly around (due to 16mm syndie prints), but still manage to be a bit tough to locate. It probably just happenstance, and also requires some extra diligence to track such items down. Which I've often not availed myself of, I'm afraid. One item, for example, I've been on the lookout for is the Robert Florey directed "Death of a Champion" (1939-Par). Florey's Paramount B's are always so exceptional, and I think this is the only one I've never come across. Should be around, though. Ditto "It's a Great Life" (1936-Par), starring Joe Morrison and Rosalind Keith, with a plot involving the Civilian Conservation Corps and a raging wildfire (hmm, sounds like Monogram's "Blazing Barriers" 1937 might have pilfered some of that idea). Also have yet to encounter "Woman Wise" (1937-Fox), starring Rochelle Hudson and Michael Whalen. Surely it was a part of that NTA syndication package of Fox B's from the mid-1950s. I think I've even seen it in the listings of some old TV Guides. Of course, there's also a Columbia item, "Highway Patrol" (1938), that I always assumed was a part of that Screen Gems package, but apparently not. It might be lost altogether. Not sure. Anyway, the hunt always continues. I've been so pleased that a lot of rarities (especially from poverty-row) have indeed been turning up the past couple of decades.
 

Chris55

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chris
Yes, it's tragedy that these films aren't available, especially when many of them are not lost, as you say. Do have "Death of a Champion", but no to the other ones. Yes, "Dumbbells in Ermine" sounds hilarious. Must admit that I haven't heard of any of the other films you mentioned at all, but they all seem great.
 

Capt D McMars

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Todd Doc Sigmier
Yes, saw "Follow Thru" myself and was very impressed with both the Technicolor and picture quality. Noticed that Buddy Roger's complete version of "Close Harmony" (29) has been found and it was be great if they released that on a DVD / Blu Ray. These movies do sell and don't really know why they don't release them to the general public.

It must have been great to meet all those wonderful and talented people of yesteryear and wish I'd been there. Another thought lost film, which I acquired recently from the Oldies/ Alpha Video site, was the wonderful part-talkie, Tiffany's "Lucky Boy"(28) with the legendary George Jessel (the original choice for "The Jazz Singer" (27)). He sings four songs in it, even though, of course, he's no Jolson or Cantor. The print was "as is" on the DVD, but great to see it and had no idea of it's existence. The movie is mostly "talkie" and a "must see" for those interested.
That's a good and bad thing about outfits like Alpha video or Grapevine video. They look to make the most money for the least amont of work. They never do any restoration, and really just Pop and Drop and whatever you get....is what you get!!
I appaude the companies that are will to go the extra mile and a half, by doing the ard work of restoring these films for future audiences. Dedication to preserving films is what seperates the good from the so-so outfits. Anyone can drop an old film onto dvd or brd and sell it, but to take pride in the product builds a following and loyal customer base of film fans.
 

battlebeast

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There are some films that will never see the light of day. One of the The tragedies of Mouse eating Fox was that, from what I gather, they are not licensing out Fox titles.

There are five fox titles I’d give anything to have on Blu Ray: EAST LYNNE, THE WHITE PARADE, STATE FAIR, THE HOUSE OF ROTHSCHILD and THE PIED PIPER.

The first two, sadly, have only one extant print (both of which reside at UCLA). Can you call that lost, or just extremely rare?

It would have been nice if FOX took the same care as Warner Archive did. I might have some or even all of these on disc.
 

Chris55

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chris
They are all in existence, so I would just call them rare. It does seem a pity that Disney has the rights to all these movies, although I would imagine that most of them are public domain movies now and probably wouldn't have had their copyright renewed anyway, and hopefully some company, like Kino, will release them on Blu Ray eventually.
 

Bert Greene

Supporting Actor
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Messages
992
Yes, I really wish we could see more of those early Fox films that are hidden away. The last time I recall encountering a 'new' one escape from the vaults was several years back, when TCM aired "Don't Bet on Women" (1931), with Jeanette MacDonald. Which, to be honest, I actually found to be rather mediocre drawing-room stuff, and a disappointment considering it was directed by William K. Howard. His Fox films are usually very interesting, stylish affairs, like "The Trial of Vivienne Ware" (1932), "Transatlantic" (1931), "The Power and the Glory" (1933), "Surrender" (1931), and such.
 

Ed Lachmann

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Edmund Lachmann
Just finished watching that magnificent 1925 version of “Ben-Hur”, on Bluray, and must say that it is the best of the two classic versions.
I'd love a "real" blu-ray of Niblo's wonderful '25 version and not the one I believe you're referring to, a standard def transfer onto blu-ray disc along with extras. That Paramount was so generous to include a "real" HD transfer of DeMille's '23 Ten Commandments on its own separate disc in the last two incarnations is to be applauded. Why can't WB do the same? I attended a screening of the Photoplay/Davis/Niblo film some years ago and the image was so much sharper than the old standard transfer WB insists on recycling.
 

Chris55

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chris
Yes, I really wish we could see more of those early Fox films that are hidden away. The last time I recall encountering a 'new' one escape from the vaults was several years back, when TCM aired "Don't Bet on Women" (1931), with Jeanette MacDonald. Which, to be honest, I actually found to be rather mediocre drawing-room stuff, and a disappointment considering it was directed by William K. Howard. His Fox films are usually very interesting, stylish affairs, like "The Trial of Vivienne Ware" (1932), "Transatlantic" (1931), "The Power and the Glory" (1933), "Surrender" (1931), and such.
Yes, unfortunately Jeanette made the mistake of signing up with Fox for a number of movies and completely regretted it as Fox were making rather "gutsy" stuff at that time, which didn't suit the star's style at all, as opposed to her previous studio, Paramount, who made much more glamorous style movies, very successfully. Noticed that she soon returned to Paramount in 1932 for two more musical classics.

Fox had released a brilliant huge John Ford DVD set of all his movies both at Fox and the subsequent TCF and are all the movies from the silent films (that still exist, of course) to the 50s. All films were digitally remastered and restored and look terrific. Thanks goodness this was all before Disney bought the Fox movie archive.
 

Ed Lachmann

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I would consider the restored Pastrone 1914 Cabiria as a "lost film found" as so much of the original was returned to the print screened with the original score way back at Cannes in 2005. Rumors circled years ago about a possible Criterion release. I wonder why the Museo Nazionale del Cinema in Turin, who controls the restoration, never allowed or authorized a disc release of this influential epic. Also, there are horrid VHS quality versions of Michael Curtiz's legendary Moon of Israel (since restored I understand) out there, but it seems "lost" by neglect, which is also the case with other interesting films like Hawks' '28 Fazil and his '26 Fig Leaves, the Emil Jannings '24 Quo Vadis and the pre-code nude-fest that is '24's Dante's Inferno. Through great expense and determination Alpha-Omega Labs produced a gorgeous blu-ray of the thought to be "lost" Lubisch '22 Loves of Pharaoh which I've grown to love and treasure. So wish that many others shared this interest in historical and especially silent films. I buy them ALL when available.
 

Chris55

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chris
I would consider the restored Pastrone 1914 Cabiria as a "lost film found" as so much of the original was returned to the print screened with the original score way back at Cannes in 2005. Rumors circled years ago about a possible Criterion release. I wonder why the Museo Nazionale del Cinema in Turin, who controls the restoration, never allowed or authorized a disc release of this influential epic. Also, there are horrid VHS quality versions of Michael Curtiz's legendary Moon of Israel (since restored I understand) out there, but it seems "lost" by neglect, which is also the case with other interesting films like Hawks' '28 Fazil and his '26 Fig Leaves, the Emil Jannings '24 Quo Vadis and the pre-code nude-fest that is '24's Dante's Inferno. Through great expense and determination Alpha-Omega Labs produced a gorgeous blu-ray of the thought to be "lost" Lubisch '22 Loves of Pharaoh which I've grown to love and treasure. So wish that many others shared this interest in historical and especially silent films. I buy them ALL when available.
Yes, I love silent movies myself and have all those movies you mentioned, except "Dante's Inferno", I think. The copy I have of "Cabiria" is wonderful and what a great movie for it's time. Certainly Italy started the "epic" genre with a bang.
 

Ed Lachmann

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Edmund Lachmann
I've seen nice sharp stills from Fazil, and it has stunning and often revealing costumes in the harem scenes, sumptuous sets plus my beloved Charles Farrell as the "sheik" character. Looks like a real hoot!
 

Stefan Andersson

Second Unit
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May 12, 2001
Messages
331
"The Net" (1916), a Thanhouser production, has been rediscovered in the National Library of Norway archives. Now available on DVD or streaming. More info here:

 

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