Almost all of what we deal with here at Cinematical involves "found" movies. And by that I mean we focus on movies that you can actually see, and not the "lost" movies that have vanished across the sands of time. But it does make for one fairly fascinating topic of conversation, so it's a good thing that sites like Film Threat put together articles like this one: The Top 50 Lost Films of All Time.

And since Film Threat has "lost" movie expert Phil Hall on the staff, I thought it would be smart to get a few words before introducing the list. So here's what Mr. Hall had to say: "A "lost film" is a movie that no longer exists in an extant format. Some films are gone forever, while others exist in fragments. The list includes complete films as well as key sequences [that were] deleted from classic movies, such as the "Jitterbug" number from The Wizard of Oz and the drama school sequence from Help! What many people may not realize is how many sound-era films are lost. It is believed that 90% of the silent movie output is lost, but a very high percentage of sound films are also believed to be gone. The list stretches from 1906 to 1987, which is both extraordinary and depressing."

And with that I'll offer just a sampling:

Him (1974, USA). This X-rated film about a gay man's homoerotic obsession with the New Testament was detailed in the 1980 book "The Golden Turkey Awards" by the Medved Brothers – whether they saw the film or just read about it was uncertain. No copy is known it to exist, and only an advertisement from the film's original New York run has turned up.

September – The Original Cast (1987, USA). Woody Allen's ill-fated drama had a troubled history consisting of two versions of the same film. Leading man Christopher Walken was replaced by Sam Shepard after shooting began. The film was completed, but it was so unsatisfactory that is was reshot; Shepard and castmates Charles Durning and Maureen O'Sullivan were replaced by Sam Waterston, Denholm Elliott and Elaine Stritch. The first version has never surfaced.

Uncle Tom's Fairy Tales (1968, USA). Penelope Spheeris was supposed to make her directing debut in this savage satire of America's volatile race relations, but star Richard Pryor was unhappy with the film's progress and halted production. Pryor reportedly ordered the footage to be destroyed, although there are unconfirmed reports that some footage survived.

For a bunch more (47 more, to be precise), check out the full piece over at Film Threat!
categories Cinematical