There is more we lost than Ambrose Bierce, the Amber Room and our illusions. Today the films preserved are outnumbered by the lost: ashed when film went with the easy-inflamable word nitrate, murdered by mad movie studios who deemed them valueless, eaten up by the tic-tac-crocodile of time. We gave up on Glenn Miller and most of Faberge’s eggs but we share the optimism Gloria Swanson once uttered: “I do not believe these films are gone forever”. Lost movies keep turning up again in archives and attics. If they also fall into public domain, we´ll give them a celebration show on the No-Nickelodeon! Keep watching: a long-hidden treasure might pop up here – or elsewhere before Your very eyes. In case You ever wonder about the title cards in what You thought some old family flick, don´t just store it away! If there´s a guy in it looking like that… …it might not be uncle Rupert in
Halloween outfit, after all. Take a look at Cinemagicon’s own agony column to know our most wanted and the poor traces they left. If Your personal most missed movie is even missing from this list, feel free to report it. We just might put it up here.
The Fairylogue and Radio-Plays of The Wonderful Wizard of OZ
Director: Francis Boggs, Otis Turner
Country/ Year: USA 1908
Tagged: novel, fantasy, children’s novel, stage play, adaptation
The mentioning of “radio” is purely a reference to the novelty value of the moving pictures which in this case were known to be the most lifelike hand-tinted images of the time. Frank L. Baum himself conducted the action which was incorporated in a road show stage performance.
Saved From the Titanic
Director: Etienne Arnaud
Country/ Year: USA 1912
Tagged: Titanic, disaster, ship, sinking, historic
Main actress Dorothy Gibson played herself in this dramatization of her narrow escape from an icy death, allegedly in the very dress she wears in the film. The latter which premiered only 29 days after the sinking was less of a survivor and perished in a fire at the producing Eclair Studios Play Footage
Director: Arthur Bouchier
Country/ Year: Germany 1913
Tagged: Shakespeare, drama, history, stage play, adaptation, war, king
Little is know of this German screen adaptation of Shakespeare’s haunting tragedy. Except that A PRINT MAY EXIST AT THE GEORGE EASTMAN HOUSE FILM ARCHIVE! Hey, don’t let that sit on You, George Eastman! Check Your vaults!!!
Director: Henry McRae
Country/ Year: USA 1913
Tagged: horror, werewolf, supernatural, native american, novel, adaptation,
Not including the first known lycanthrope of cinema would carry a curse with itself! However, in the film version of Henry Beaugrand’s short story “The Werewolves” it doesn’t spring from gypsy lore but native american myths or rather white man’s guilty fear of the shamanic retribution.
A Study in Scarlet
Director: George Pearson
Country/ Year: UK 1914
Tagged: novel, crime, detective, adaptation, mystery
The most baffling mystery of Arthur Conan Doyle’s great detective has yet to be solved: where is the first feature-length filming of Sherlock-Holmes-novel? Maybe in the hands of Dr. Watson, who unlike Professor Moriarty was denied a screen appearance until the first american version.
Life Without Soul
Director: Joseph W Smiley
Country/ Year: USA 1915
Tagged: monster, horror, novel, adaptation, experiment
The second take on Mary Shelley’s classic after the Edison Studio’s short of “Frankenstein” represented a full feature monster of it’s own with it plot scrambled together from bits and pieces of the Golem myth, present-day-action and very likely an it-was-all-a-dream happy end.
The First Men in the Moon
Director: Bruce Gordon, J.L.V. Leigh
Country/ Year: UK 1918
Tagged: science fiction, space, moon, alien, exploring, adaptation, novel
Sven years after George Melies turned Jules Vernes science-fiction-fantasies into „Voyage dans la Lune“ this british feature did the same to its own nation’s visionist writer. H. G. Wells eponymous novel imbued bizarre lunar landscapes and shivery selenites in the country’s futuristic firstling.
The Head of Janus (OT: Der Januskopf)
Director: F. W. Murnau
Country/ Year: Germany 1920
Tagged: horror, mystery, novel, adaptation, psychology, crime, science
From the sleepwalking Cesare in “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” actor Conrad Veidt turned once more into an unwittingly murderer in the first feature invoked by R. L. Stevenson’s „The strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde“, the plots unauthorized and therefor denieded source.
Bits of Life
Director: Marshall Neilan
Country/ Year: USA 1921
Tagged: anthology, drama, episode, omnibus movie, adaptation
Anna May Wongs first screen credit as rather idicatory named “Toy Sing” among the splendid cast including Lon Chaney and Noah Beery is just one more reason to long for this entwinement of four separate stories, making the adaptation of several short stories the first ever anthology movie.
Dracula’s Death (OT: Drakula halála)
Director: Karoly Lajthay
Country/ Year: Hungary 1921
Tagged: horror, vampire, supernatural, madness, possession
Transylvania is the native place of bloodsucking revenants, in fiction as well as cinema history as the eerie take on the fear of ancient legends and possible insanity proves. Not Bram Stokers novel but folk tales gave rise to the ghostly images which remain from the original Dracula.
Edo ni arawareta Kingu-Kongu: Henge no maki (Part I)
Edo ni arawareta Kingu-Kongu: Ôgon no maki (Part II)
Director: Soya Kumagai
Country/ Year: Japan 1938
Tagged: horror, ape, remake, adventure, monster
It’s King Kong rampaging the historical town of Tokyo known as Edo, years before Godzilla had a chance to. Since giant apes need giant features this has two parts! So the plot was lifted from Ernest B. Schoedsacks big monkey business? Whatever, it’s “King Kong turns up in Edo”!!!
The Monkey’s Paw
Director: Wesley Ruggles, Ernest B. Schoedsack
Country/ Year: USA 1933
Tagged: horror, short story, adaptation, curse, mystery
Again Ernest B. Schoedsack is involved in a cinematic loss, this time as director of the prime screen version of the W. W. Jacobs‘ story about the titular talisman. Ostensibly RKO wasn’t careful enough what they wished for when producing this missing B-movie-gem.
London After Midnight
Director: Tod Browning
Country/ Year: USA 1927
Tagged: mystery, crime, horror, vampire, murder, detective story
If You aren’t curious about a film directed by Tod Browning (“Freaks”, “Dracula”) where Lon Chaney – literally – plays the part of a top-hat-spurting vampire accompanied by a slinky female vampire in foggy Victorian London, You’re simply not enough of a film buff. Nope, You aren’t.
This Man Is Dangerous (U.S. The Patient Vanishes)
Director: Lawrence Huntington
Country/ Year: UK 1941
Tagged: novel, adaptation, comedy, crime
The alternative title anticipates the fate of this comedy thriller with an early turn from James Mason. Allegedly packed with action and romance, the adaptation of David Hume’s novel was last seen 1987 on british TV. Finally one good reason not to overwrite Your old tapes 6too rashly.
The Cat Creeps
Director: Rupert Julian
Country/ Year: USA 1930
Tagged: mystery, murder, remake, crime, thriller
John Willard’s stage play proved a favorite with movie producers. One of whom, Paul Kohner, is said to be responsible for the spooky atmosphere in this remake of the silent original, co-directed by Rupert Julian (“Phantom of the Opera”). According to the Tagline: “It´s…wow!“ – and crept away. Play Trailer