15 Long-Lost Movies That Were Plucked from Obscurity

By:
15 Long-Lost Movies That Were Plucked from Obscurity

It’s easy to think of film as immortalizing people — there they are, up on the big screen, young and beautiful forever.

The truth is, though, that enormous amounts of films end up lost and forgotten. Incredible, era-defining work ends up wiped, rotting or sitting in a dusty box in an attic, labeled wrongly and in a format nobody can play. We think that in this modern age of digital everything and damn near unlimited storage that we’ve moved beyond such issues, but if you try watching something on YouTube from before about 2010, it looks like it was filmed with a shoe, and millions of us have CD-Rs filled with precious memories and computers with no CD drives.

Sometimes, someone is rooting through a big box of old crap and stumbles upon an old film reel that turns out to be an incredibly important part of cinema history. The performances, ideas and dreams of these long-gone people get to be seen again, and thankfully there are movie historians and academics who can contextualize it all — otherwise however modern and exciting and provocative and futuristic anything seemed at the time can seem like just so much other jittery old shit.

Poring through these archives to sort the pieces of history from the pieces of shit is a huge, neverending job — there are cupboards in basement offices in Hollywood that nobody’s touch in 75 years that might contain masterpieces, but who has the combination of time, money and expertise to look?

Click right here to get the best of Cracked sent to your inbox.

The Rocket-in-the-Moon’s-Eye Guy’s Greatest Hits

Most of the earliest films by Georges Méliès (of A Trip to the Moon fame) were long assumed lost, but several have turned up either mislabelled, packed away in dusty-ass archives or in the forgotten collections of outrageously old people. 

15 Long-Lost Movies That Were Plucked from Obscurity

Source

Bing Crosby and Acid: What a Combo

Film collector Robert Martens found a long-forgotten reel of When the Organ Played “O Promise Me” — a Bing Crosby-narrated collection of psychedelic images intended to treat shellshocked veterans in World War II — in his grandfather’s collection.

15 Long-Lost Movies That Were Plucked from Obscurity

Source

Black American History, Left in a Box for 120 Years

A silent, 29-second 1898 film showing the first screen kiss between two African Americans — in an era where that was incredibly controversial — was found in an estate sale in 2018. It is now in the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry. 

15 Long-Lost Movies That Were Plucked from Obscurity

Source

A-Listers’ B-Movie (the B Stands for ‘Bear’)

More recent and less prestigious, Grizzly II: Revenge is an in-name-only sequel to 1978’s Grizzly, filmed in 1983 but only released in 2020. It stars a pre-fame George Clooney, Laura Dern and Charlie Sheen, all of whom die extremely quickly. 

CHARLIE SHEEN GEORGE CLOONEY LAURA DERN GRIZZLY REVENGE GOGE INTERNATIONAL S.ZAME CS KOSAAGY SUZANNE CSNOSNAGY LALANCER CHARLE DEEN LOUGE R.ETC-EX JOHNSONNES DESORAH RAFFIN DOUGT-OU U.S. JEAN BACAL ANDRE SZOIS JOAN NOCALL DAVO SHELDON I

Source

My Bum Is on the Dickens

A one-minute 1901 film, found mislabeled deep in the British Film Institute’s archive, is the first Charles Dickens adaptation ever, one scene from Bleak House starring Tom Green (not that one, no mooses are humped in it, it was 1901). 

A HOUSE BY CHARLES DICKENS. III 100% a

Source

The Zombie King’s ‘Old People in a Park’ Epic

George A. Romero is best known for his zombie movies, but he also made a deeply odd, extremely disturbing movie about elder abuse. The Amusement Park was never properly released, languishing in obscurity for 50 years before its 2018 rediscovery. 

GEORGE A. ROMERO'S THE AMUSEMENT PARK = POLICTHE MAX VEXIBAT the IN САХЦИЯ

Source

The Lion in the Permafrost

A 1965 MGM California vault fire meant the loss of many historically significant films. One of these, 1917’s Polly of the Circus (featuring the debut of the MGM lion) was eventually rediscovered in 1978 — buried, amazingly, in the Yukon permafrost. 

15 Long-Lost Movies That Were Plucked from Obscurity

Source

The Award-Winner Abandoned on a French Shelf

1927’s Wings was the first ever winner of the Best Picture Academy Award — preceding the “Oscar” nickname — but was considered lost for decades. A copy was rediscovered in Paris, painstakingly restored at a cost of $700,000 and rereleased. 

15 Long-Lost Movies That Were Plucked from Obscurity

Source

Citizen Kane’s Unfinished

Orson Welles’ The Other Side of the Wind began production in 1970 and was never finished despite hundreds of hours of footage — there were numerous fallings-out, and it sat in a safe in Paris until being completed in 2018.

VV 40 INT ANW MOTION PICTURE FROM LEGENDARY DIRECTOR ORSON WELLES ANETELIXAM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND 40YEARS INTHE MAKING HIS FINAL FILM IN SEL NETF IN SELECT THEATERS AND ON NETFLIX NOVEMBER 2

Source

It’s Aliiiiiiive!

Thomas Edison produced the first screen adaptation of Frankenstein in 1910. It went missing for decades, preserved only in still-image form, and was rediscovered in the 1980s by a movie historian in his mother-in-law’s collection of old reels.

No. 4 VOL. 2 MARCH 15, 1910

Source

Earliest Anime Unearthed

The first piece of anime is of huge historical significance, but shrouded in mystery — the three-second film shows a boy writing “motion picture” in kanji and bowing, dating from around 1907. It was found in an old crate of crap.

5 PR it was

Source

Captain Kirk’s Universal-Language Sci-Fi Epic

The Esperanto-language movie Incubus starring William Shatner — briefly seen during Blade: Trinity — was thought lost following a fire, but a dusty copy with French subtitles was found in Paris in 1996 and painstakingly restored. Turns out it’s shit! 

NEWLY DISCOVERED! The lost herror classic-unseen for 30 years The effect is maximum terror. - ... NCUBUS STARRING WILLIAM SHATNER A supernatural monster ILLIAM war thy of Nosteratu* - Page - - - - - . - - . - A starting American art film - - / - - SPECIAL was NEW - - - - - - - - HATNER

Source

The Evangelical Oscar-Winner

Marjoe, a portrait of evangelist preacher Marjoe Gortner, won the 1972 Best Documentary Oscar. After its acclaimed release, it was lost for three decades, until the co-director was working in the same processing lab during a clearout, and rediscovered the print.

MARISE $$$$$$$$$$ de X t P ttt t 7

Source

Ouchy Pouches: The Ozsploitation Horror with Real ‘Roo Deaths

The master negative of super-violent controversial Australian horror movie Wake in Fright, which features real kangaroos being killed, was long thought lost, eventually discovered in a warehouse in a box marked “for destruction.” 

Outback Have a drink, mate? Have a fight, mate? Have a taste of dust and sweat, mate? There's nothing else out here. NJ PRODUCTIONS at - - DONALD PLEASENCE GARY BOND CHIPS RAFFERTY SYLVIA KAY. wake in fright 4 WELOUGHST Seorale Produce MALACE SINSER TEG KOTCHEFF Moth JOIN SCOTT IOMO & BANNS w su AARMON h fits JONES Seel en - amorn KENNETH COOK SUITABLE tinded Artists ONLY FOR TECHNCOLORT ADULTS

Source

‘Star Wars’ First Spin-Off, Kinda

The 25-minute short Black Angel screened before The Empire Strikes Back in Europe, directed by Star Wars art director Roger Christian. After this, it was thought to have been destroyed, but a print was found in an L.A. archive and restored. 

BLACE ANGEL ****** SOGER CHRISTIAN

Source

Scroll down for the next article

MUST READ

Forgot Password?