Movies That Have Been Lost But You Still Want To See

Movies have been around for well over 100 years. Film companies do their best to preserve these movies but sometimes they fail to do so. It has been said that over 90% of American movies before 1928 lost and around 75% of all silent films have vanished. There are many reasons for this such as the highly flammable nitrate film that was used to make movies back then and the intentional destruction of movies that were thought to be worthless or controversial. Here are a few lost films that movie buffs still want to see.

1. London After Midnight

London After Midnight is a 1927 American silent mystery/horror movie starring acting legend Lon Chaney. The film was also directed by Tod Browning which would later go on to direct horror classics such as Dracula and Freaks. Lon Chaney was actually hired to play both the detective and the suspect in the movie since he was a master at changing his appearance using movie makeup. This skill, as well as his superior acting, earned Lon Chaney the nickname the man of a thousand faces.

The movie is about a detective that is investigating the death of a man named Roger Balfour after he is found in his home on the outskirts of London. Balfour’s death is ruled a suicide, but his neighbor does not believe Balfour would take his own life. 5 years later the detective is called to Belfour’s house again after a string of strange events start to happen including the sight of a scary-looking man with pointed teeth. The detective also finds out that Balfour’s body has been taken out of his tomb making him believe something more sinister is going on in the house. He decides to stay in the house in order to uncover the truth of what really happened to Roger Balfour.

Advertisement

London After Midnight received commercial success and became the 10th highest-grossing film when it was released in 1927 even though it had mixed reviews. Years later the movie was forgotten about and several copies of the film were lost. The original copy of the movie was put in the MGM vault but was later destroyed when the vault caught on fire in 1967. There are a few pictures of London After Midnight but all known copies of the film have been lost or destroyed. There are rumors that a copy still exists but there has been no evidence to support this claim.

Movies That Have Been Lost But You Still Want To See

2. Humorisk (or Humor Risk)

This 1921 comedy was the first movie starring the iconic Marx Brothers. It was also the first movie Jo Swerling had ever written who would later help write It’s a Wonderful Life and Gone with the Wind. The movie was supposed to be a spoof of the 1920 film Humoresque which was one of the biggest box office hits that year.

Advertisement

Not much is known about the plot of Humorisk but the Marx brothers apparently played very different roles than what they are known for. They did not work together and decided to do everything separately instead of as a team which is very uncharacteristic for the brothers. Harpo played the hero, Groucho played the stereotypical mustache-twirling villain, Chico played the villain’s sidekick, and Zeppo played a nightclub owner. There is a debate on who played the leading lady role but it was either Esther Ralston or Helen Kane.

There are a few stories of why the film was lost or destroyed but no one knows what truly happened. One story says the film reel was accidentally thrown away after it was left in the screening box. The most common version of the story states that Groucho Marx hated the movie so much that he bought the film after the first and only screening in order to destroy it. The Marx Brothers would not make another movie until 1929.

Movies That Have Been Lost But You Still Want To See

Advertisement

3. The Mountain Eagle

This 1926 silent film was actually the second movie legendary director Alfred Hitchcock ever directed. It was made in Germany so Hitchcock could have more directorial freedom than he would in his home country of England. The Mountain Eagle is also ranked #1 on the British Film Institute’s most wanted lost movie list. It is viewed as the holy grail for movie collectors.

The Mountain Eagle is a romantic melodrama about a widowed man named J.P Pettigrew who falls in love with a schoolteacher named Beatrice. Beatrice has no interest in Pettigrew and instead becomes lovers with his crippled son Edward. Pettigrew finds out about their relationship and becomes jealous and threatens to tell everyone that she is taking advantage of his son if she doesn’t form a relationship with him. His son runs away after this and Beatrice marries a hermit named Fear O’God Fulton. Pettigrew tells the police that Fulton killed his son in order to get back at him and Beatrice. Fulton escapes prison to run away with Beatrice but she falls ill. At the same time, Edward shows back up and Fulton’s crimes have been dropped.

As you can tell the movie’s plot is very detailed. This, along with the unrealistic nature of the film, caused the movie to be panned by critics and audiences alike. It was originally shown to a group of producers that disliked the film so much that they did not release it until a year later after the success of Hitchcock’s third film The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog. Hitchcock himself hated the movie and said it was an awful movie.

Advertisement
See Also

 Later on, the film was lost. Only a few stills of the movie exist. All the prints of The Mountain Eagle were lost during Hitchcock’s lifetime which surprisingly made him very happy. Hitchcock said, “[He is] not sorry there are no known prints.” We may never know just how bad The Mountain Eagle truly is.

Movies That Have Been Lost But You Still Want To See

Advertisement

4. The Patriot

The Patriot is one of the critically acclaimed lost films in cinema history. It was directed by Ernst Lubitsch who became popular with his comedies about that satirized society and social standards. Lubitsch is now viewed as one the most elegant and sophisticated directors of all time and The Patriot is said to be one of his best films.

The Patriot is a semi-biographical drama about the 18th– Century Russian Czar Paul I. The Czar is hated by most people due to his horrendous acts of violence and other evil deeds. The only person the Czar trust is Count Pahlen who wishes to protect him but Count Pahlen believes that he must remove the Czar from the thrown due to his terrible actions. The Count, along with an underling named Stefan, then comes up with a plan to remove the Czar from power.

The movie was a huge success and was praised by critics and audiences alike. It was nominated for 5 Oscars including best actor, best director, and best picture. It also won the Oscar for best-adapted screenplay. The Patriot was the last silent film to ever be nominated for best picture until the movie The Artist won it in 2012. Unfortunately, the film has been lost due to damages. Only a few pieces of the film still exist causing this great film to never be seen again (at least until another copy is found which is unlikely).

Advertisement

Movies That Have Been Lost But You Still Want To See

As stated before, there are tons of lost movies. The good news is there has been a lot of lost films that have been found over recent years. Hopefully, some of the movies on this list will be found and we can enjoy them the way they were meant to be. Feel free to share some other lost films you want to see in the comments below.

Featured Image Source: https://theawesomedaily.com/20-behind-the-scenes-from-major-films-for-another-perspective/