Wednesday 6 April 2011

Lost Films

This is a list of lost films and partially lost films. The list will be slowly populated as time goes by. Your suggestions are always welcome in the comments section, but I will take my time over this so please be patient.
Burglar Bill and How He Lost His Tooth by Mistake
Nothing seems to exist except a frame or two from the opening titles.
The first adaptation of a Victor Hugo novel to be filmed. A few stills exist.


A Study in Scarlet

An early version of the Sherlock Holmes novel of the same name. This film was apparently authorised for production by the creator and writer himself, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The 2-reeler (approx 20-minute) film starred Francis Ford according to trade advertisements of the day, but the Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia website states that the unknown James Braginton was the star because he looked like early drawings of the lead character from the books.
Fragments exist, possibly of a costume test or screen test featuring Theda Bara, which can be seen here. A reconstruction, made from still photographs was created and shown in 2017. So far it has never been released publicly. Around August 2023 a new fragment was found and was put up on YouTube the following month. The new fragment is definitely a part of the storyline of the film, showing Theda Bara and Art Acord in their roles as well as other supporting players.
Wild Women and Tame Lions
A Fox Film Corporation movie. Studio stills, posters and a magazine publicity article exist.
The Miracle Man
Only the two segments that were used in Paramount's 'Movie Milestone' series and the 1931 compilation film 'The House That Shadows Built' have survived. The film featured Lon Chaney and Betty Compson
The Big Punch
A John Ford film starring Buck Jones. Seemingly completely lost. Posters and ads exist.
The Queen of Sheba
Almost certainly lost in the 1937 New Jersey vault fire. In 2011 a 17-second fragment was discovered. The film starred Betty Blythe and Fritz Leiber.
A Blind Bargain
Completely lost when the last remaining print was destroyed in the 1965 MGM vault fire. The film starred Lon Chaney and Raymond McKee. 
The Darling of New York
Mostly lost. About 5 minutes of footage has survived, although water damaged. This was a silent drama featuring Baby Peggy Montgomery.
So Big
Studio stills, posters and magazine ads exist. A silent drama feature starring Colleen Moore


Clothes Make the Pirate

A trailer and some studio stills exist. The trailer can be seen here. The film starred Leon Errol and Dorothy Gish.

Madame Sans-GĂȘne

A trailer and studio stills exist. The film stars Gloria Swanson.


Studio stills, posters and magazine adverts exist. The film stars Colleen Moore.


The American Venus

Two trailers exist and in 2018 three seconds of a disgarded part of the film was discovered by the British Film Institute featuring Louise Brooks. This film included at least two sequences that were shot in two-strip Technicolor.

The Great Gatsby

A trailer, studio stills and lobby cards exist. 

The Runaway

Starring Clara Bow and featuring William Powell, this film was thought completely lost until a 35 second fragment was discovered.


The Battle of the Century (Short)

This Laurel and Hardy short has been slowly found by degrees over the years. The latest find was in 2014 when a complete second reel was discovered. Parts of the first reel are still lost. Studio stills exist.

Hats Off (Short)

The only Laurel and Hardy film to be completely lost. Some studio stills exist.

Completely lost when the last remaining print was destroyed in the 1965 MGM vault fire. Studio stills and a complete original script survive. A reconstruction, made using the original script and still photographs was created and released in 2002 by TCM. There are mutterings of a copy being held in Spain or Argentina, but so far nothing has come of it. The film starred Lon Chaney and Marceline Day.
The Way of All Flesh
Two fragments survive from the last reel of the film. Emil Jannings won the very first 'Best Actor' Academy Award for his role in this film and for the film 'The Last Command'.


The Divine Woman

Only one reel from the film is known to exist. It runs nine minutes and was discovered in 1993. The complete print was destroyed in the 1965 MGM vault fire. The film starred Greta Garbo.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Studio stills exist. A feature comedy starring Ruth Taylor and Alice White.

Red Hair

A black and white silent starring Clara Bow with a short segment shot in Technicolor. Outtakes of this Technicolor sequence is the only part of the film that survives today.
Three Week Ends
Another Clara Bow silent (her last) was thought completely lost until a couple of segments were discovered that runs to a total of over a minute.. 

Close Harmony
A feature-length soundtrack exists as well as a 20min edit of the film.

Footlights and Fools

A Colleen Moore early talkie/musical. Studio stills, poster and ads exist.
Fox Movietone Follies of 1929
Part of the soundtrack exists as do studio stills and posters.
The Ghost Talks
Studio stills exist.

Gold Diggers of Broadway

A Technicolour feature with accompanying Vitaphone soundtrack disks. Thought completely lost until 1986. The soundtrack has survived intact. Most of the final two reels of this 10-reel film exist along with several short clips from other parts of the film. The film starred Nancy Welford, Conway Tearle, Winnie Lightner and Ann Pennington and also featured Albert Gran.

The House of Secrets

The only feature film to star Marcia Manning is believed to be totally lost.


A feature film starring Charles 'Buddy' Rogers and Nancy Carroll.
The soundtrack and studio stills exists, posters and other promotional material exist.

Innocents of Paris

A feature film musical starring Maurice Chevalier.
The soundtrack exists.

Is Everybody Happy

A film musical starring Ted Lewis.
The soundtrack exists and also a 5-minute clip which is in poor quality.
New Orleans

The Vitaphone soundtrack exists with music only.

Words and Music

A first credited role for John Wayne (credited as Duke Morrison) and for Ward Bond. Unfortunately this appears to be lost. Studio stills exist.


Broadway's Like That (Short)

The picture element exists but the soundtrack is lost. A short subject starring Ruth Etting and Humphrey Bogart.

The sound version of this John Ford film is lost, but a silent version with an added score exists. The film stars Kenneth MacKenna and Frank Albertson.

The Rogue Song

Much of the film survives with different pieces in different archives. The most recent discovery of footage was in 1998. The Laurel and Hardy segment appears to be complete.

Troopers Three

The feature-length version of Troopers Three is lost. There is a 22min version which is in a poor state.
The Millionaire Cat (Short)
Only the soundtrack exists of this Clark and McCullough comedy short. The cutting continuity script exists and was placed alongside the soundtrack in a partial reconstruction without pictures. It appears that no studio stills exist for this production.

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