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 Post subject: The BFI's most wanted
PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 6:33 pm 
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Location: Aldershot, Hampshire
Here

The BFi has just started an initiative to find 75 British films of which no film copies survive. (Though some of them do survive on VHS, either from legit releases or bootlegs.) Please search your attic - and if you find any of the 75 films listed, please let the BFI know.

Many of them date back to silent days - it's a sad fact of life that huge numbers of silents are now lost, including films by such major directors as Ford, Borzage and Murnau. It's more of a shock that a film from as late as 1983 has been lost - that's after I started regular cinemagoing!


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 8:31 pm 
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List of mostly just old curios, I suppose...

But perhaps, as Gary, says, odder still to note this one from 1980s:
WHERE IS PARSIFAL
http://www.bfi.org.uk/nationalarchive/n ... sifal.html
:o
Sounds vaguely SFnal, or genre, at least!
Could it really be THAT bad, as the reviews suggest?

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 8:35 am 
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True, but better a curio that we have a chance to see and make our own judgements on than not. Top of the list, by the way, is the one lost Hitchcock feature (The Mountain Eagle), AWOL since the 1920s.

A lot of people, myself included, would give anything to be able to see Convention City (1933, and one of the films credited with bringing on the enforcement of the Production Code), Murnau's Four Devils, the director's cuts of The Magnificent Ambersons and Greed etc etc.

Still, we live in hope. A couple of years ago, A Man to Remember (1938) turned up in the Netherlands, the only surviving print being subtitled into Dutch. That was a film that had appeared on some Best of Year lists in its time. And not forgetting the missing footage from Metropolis which was found in Argentina, or the previously lost John Ford silent (Upstream, 1927) which was unearthed in New Zealand recently.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 11:01 pm 
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GaryC wrote:
..better a curio that we have a chance to see and make our own judgements on than not.


Yes, but on that score, I suspect there are many old films already in the vaults that aren't easily available...

I'm still keen to see genre silent, High Treason (1929) - which might, judging from clips I've seen in TV documentary Silent Britain - deserve comparison with Metropolis.

If more stuff like that was restored and released on disc, it would probably generate more interest in other research projects to benefit the Brit film archives.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2010 12:59 pm 
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Tony wrote:
GaryC wrote:
..better a curio that we have a chance to see and make our own judgements on than not.


Yes, but on that score, I suspect there are many old films already in the vaults that aren't easily available...

I'm still keen to see genre silent, High Treason (1929) - which might, judging from clips I've seen in TV documentary Silent Britain - deserve comparison with Metropolis.

If more stuff like that was restored and released on disc, it would probably generate more interest in other research projects to benefit the Brit film archives.


No disagreement from me, but now is not the best time for this, judging by warning signs from across the Atlantic. Warners have moved over to releasing their back catalogue as downloads or burn-on-demand DVD-Rs and apparently Paramount right now is deleting most of its back catalogue DVDs, so they may go the same route as Warners. DVD will be fine for niche arthouse stuff as released by people like Criterion and Masters of Cinema, but I suspect the rest of the films out there won't see the light of day until downloads become viable in the UK. There's plenty of stuff you can download now (strictly speaking illegally of course) which isn't likely to get even a DVD release, let alone a Blu-ray one.

As for High Treason, I have no idea what state the material is in (I presume it still exists?) and how much expensive restoration it will need. The BFI is probably the best bet for a release like this, assuming it's viable. (You did see that the BFI is looking for funding to restore Hitchcock's nine surviving silents, all but one of which are out on DVD already?)

It's not a good time to be a film fan who doesn't just want to watch the new blockbusters.


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