10 Famous Found Films

We just looked at 10 famous films that might be lost forever. But there's hope! Here are 10 famous films that were missing before magically turning up.

1. The first version of John Cassavetes’ Shadows

John Cassavetes shot his first film, Shadows, twice. Unhappy with the first version, he scrapped and reshot nearly sixty percent of it. Boston University professor and Cassavetes expert Ray Carney conducted an interview with the director and concluded that at least one print of the original might still exist. Carney spent decades following false leads from archivists, curators, and collectors—until he contacted a Florida woman who claimed her father, a junk collector and owner of a Manhattan second-hand shop, had purchased a box of reels labeled “Shadows” from a New York City subway system lost-and-found sale.

Carney was incredulous at first, and upon acquiring the reels, he let them sit, sure that they were yet another print of the film’s second version. Upon unspooling the film, he was struck immediately. The second version of Shadows opens with a crowd scene—the film in his hands opens with a lone figure walking down a street. The first version of the landmark indie film was found.

2. Ed Wood’s Necromania

Everyone is familiar with 1959’s Plan 9 From Outer Space, but “Z movie” auteur Ed Wood, Jr., made films all the way into the 1970s. That part of his career is characterized by his exploitation and porn films, such as Orgy of the Dead, The Only House in Town, and the 1971’s Necromania. Pieces of the film bounced around, but no complete copy was ever found, despite the best efforts of “Woodites.” That is, until 2001, when prominent Wood biographer Rudolph Grey, Jr., ended his 17-year quest by discovering a complete print of Necromania in a Los Angeles warehouse.??

3. Richard III, the first full-length film of a Shakespeare play

This version of Shakespeare’s Richard III is both the first feature-length film of a Shakespeare play and the earliest known American feature film still in existence. It was thought lost forever until 1996, when a Portland, Oregon, projectionist and collector donated a near-mint print of the 1912 silent to The American Film Institute, which was unaware of the print’s existence.??

4. Carl T. Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc

One of the greatest films of the silent era, The Passion of Joan of Arc featured what critic Pauline Kael described as what “may be the finest performance ever recorded on film” by one-and-done actress Maria Falconetti. Damaged, spliced-together copies of this Danish classic were known to exist, but the original, pristine version was thought lost forever. Cut to Norway, 1981, when a complete, near-perfect print was discovered—by a janitor, in the broom closet of a Norway mental hospital. It is thought that a doctor from the hospital had ordered a print of the film in the 1930s and had simply forgotten about it.??

5. A Thief Catcher, featuring a two-minute cameo from Charlie Chaplin

Silent comedy collector Paul Guriecki (aka “The Godfather of the Silent Comedy Mafia,” according to his Twitter profile) was browsing a Michigan antique sale earlier this year and came upon a reel tucked away in a trunk. He purchased the reel, thinking it was just another in a long line Keystone Studios shorts. Little did he know at the time, that ten-minute short, A Thief Catcher, features a film historian’s dream: a two-minute cameo from the not-yet-famous Tramp, one of the first of Chaplin wearing his iconic moustache.

??6. Upstream (and lots, lots more)

In the spring of 2010, a 75-film trove was found in a New Zealand vault. Many “rediscovered films” are found alone, forgotten in an archive, a closet, an attic (or, of course, in the New York City subway). Rarely do film geeks have the opportunity to salivate over a treasure trove of lost films like they did earlier this year, when 75 films were found in a Kiwi vault. As if finding 75 thought-lost films wasn’t enough, the collection also included manna for film geeks: Upstream, an early feature film directed by Hollywood legend John Ford, who went on to direct film-school standards Stagecoach and The Searchers. Other highlights are Birth of a Hat, a short industrial film from the Stetson Company; and Won in the Closet, directed by Mabel Normand, one of the earliest films directed by an actress.??

7. Nazi propaganda film Victory of Faith, directed by Leni Riefenstahl

Hitler’s infamous documentarian made a trip to Great Britain in 1934 to lecture college students on her filmmaking process. She brought with her Victory of Faith, a film featuring footage of the 1933 Nuremberg rally as well as appearances by Ernst Rohm, who at the time was Hitler's close friend and leader of the SA (more commonly known today as the Brownshirts). Rohm's career path in that early Nazi era was a little too ambitious for Der Fuhrer, who later ordered a purge of the SA, and arrested Rohm himself, denouncing him as a traitor. Rohm was deemed an outcast overnight, and Hitler demanded all references to him purged from the public record. This meant all copies of Victory of Faith were destroyed, too. That is, all but one, a copy made during Riefenstahl's visit to Britain, rediscovered in the 1990s.

??8. Momotaro: Umi no Shinpei, the first Japanese animated feature

Translated to “Momotaro’s Divine Sea Warriors,” this propaganda cartoon—a sequel to director Mitsuyo Seo’s earlier 37-minute film featuring the same character—from the land of anime features the Japanese folklore character Peach Boy, who leads a band of animals in an attack on an Indonesian island with the mission to liberate Asia. After the war, most Japanese propaganda films, Momotaro included, were thought to have been destroyed. But one print of the important animated feature survived and was found in 1984, in the offices of Japanese film company Shochiku.??

9. Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino romance Beyond the Rocks

This silent-era treasure featuring two of Hollywood's greatest stars was considered lost forever, except for a one-minute fragment kept by the Nederlands Filmmuseum. In 2002, a Dutch film collector passed away, leaving his assortment of 2,000 reels to the museum. Archivists spent months cataloging the donation, which included all six complete reels of the Swanson-Valentino film, each in remarkable condition.??

10. Howard Hughes production Two Arabian Knights

Hughes, famous aviator, film producer, and mentally ill recluse, produced this 1927 silent comedy about two American World War I POWs starring Mary Astor, she of The Maltese Falcon fame. (The film also features horror-movie legend Boris Karloff in a small role.) Knights was well received in its day, winning director Lewis Milestone an Oscar for "Best Direction in a Comedy," an award that the Academy no longer hands out. It disappeared shortly thereafter, and wasn't recovered until Hughes' death about fifty years later. It was found in his film collection and then restored by a University of Nevada film historian. Certainly more interesting than the jars of Hughes’ urine that may have accompanied it!

Today is October 10, 2010—10.10.10! To celebrate, we've got all our writers working on 10 lists, which we'll be posting throughout the day and night. To see all the lists we've published so far, click here.

10 Stars Who Appeared on Saved by the Bell

While the main cast of Saved by the Bell had varied success in their post-Bayside lives, many of the show's guests star went on to achieve Hollywood success. Here's 10 appearances by now-notable performers.

1. Christine Taylor
The former fake Marcia Brady and current Mrs. Ben Stiller appeared in a 1991 episode of the series (titled "S.A.T.s") where goof-off Zack Morris miraculously scored higher on his SATs than over-achiever Jessie Spano. When Christine's character Heather learned of Zack's great score, she begged him to help her study.

2. Soleil Moon Frye

The Punky Brewster actress appeared in a season four episode of the show during which Screech "invents" a new kind of spaghetti sauce and gets rich quick (using the tag line, "The sauce-a you can have, but the secret? She's-a mine!") But, when it turns out that the geek's recipe isn't legit and he loses it all, Frye ditches him.

3. Scott Wolf
Though he later became a teen heartthrob with his role on Party of Five, Scott Wolf paid his dues as an unnamed extra on Saved by the Bell. He appeared as a waiter at the Max, a movie patron, and as a member of the chorus in various episodes. You can see him in the green sweater standing next to Jessi Spano in this clip.

4. Leah Remini
The queen of Queens is one of the best-known guest stars of Saved by the Bell. She played Stacey Carosi, daughter of the Malibu Sands Beach Club owner Leon Carosi (played by Ernie Sabella aka the voice of Pumbaa in The Lion King). Her role lasted seven episodes and included her signature New York accent.

5. Eric Dane
Now better known as McSteamy from Grey's Anatomy, Eric Dane popped up in a summer episode of Saved by the Bell, while the gang was working at the Malibu Sands Beach Club. He played a former boyfriend of Stacey Carosi and an opponent in an annual volleyball competition. Sneak a peek of him here, in the neon orange shirt.

6. Tori Spelling
After years of chasing Lisa Turtle, Screech finally finds love in Violet Bickerstaff. She appeared in three episodes, including an episode called "House Party," where the gang takes over Screech's house while his parents' are away for the weekend. There is an infamous scene featuring Zack, Slater, and Screech lip syncing to "Barbara Ann."

7. Denise Richards
In the final episode filmed at the Malibu Sands Beach Club, Slater is pursued by Denise Richards, who has some unusual tactics for getting attention, including pretending to drown so he'll have to rescue her.

8. Bridgette Wilson
In 1992, Wilson (who you know from all sorts of movies, including I Know What You Did Last Summer and Billy Madison) appeared in five episodes of Saved by the Bell as Ginger, a ditsy blond. Wilson was not always credited for this role

9. Rena Sofer
Best known for roles on 24 (Marilyn Bauer), NCIS (Margaret Allison Hart), and Melrose Place (Eve Cleary), Sofer appeared as a single mom (and Zack's love interest, naturally) in 1992's made-for-TV Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style movie.

10. Casey Kasem
Playing himself, the well-known radio personality (and voice of Shaggy on Scooby-Doo), appeared twice on Saved by the Bell — first as the host of a dance contest at the Max and the second as the narrator of the episode titled "Rockumentary," during which Zack dreams of the gang (sans Jessi) as Zack Attack, a popular band that rises and falls.

And with this post, our 10.10.10 celebration (that spilled into 10.11.10) comes to an end. Let's do this again November 11, 2011! To see all our 10 lists from the last two days, click here.

10 Awkward Speeches, Interviews and Rants

Pass the mic and prepare for the worst. Here we have 10 awkward speeches, broken interviews, and impromptu rants by celebrities and public officials.

1. In this 1992 Hangin' With MTV interview with Faith No More, vocalist Mike Patton is too busy picking his nose to even listen to the questions.

2. A young Henry Rollins, way back in 1985, turns the tables on the interviewer. Intimidating? Just a little?

3. Sometimes an interview goes smoothly, like this one from 1980 with Dead Kennedys singer, Jello Biafra. Until the final question is asked. Huh?

4. Or, maybe the subject has just had a bad day in the studio, like Mark Motherbaugh of Devo did.

5. And you can't expect a trained killing machine to be coherent after beating someone up, as Mike Tyson demonstrates, in this video from 2000.

6. In 1986, Frank Zappa appeared on CNN's Crossfire... and let the other guest know what he can kiss.

7. At the 2004 Toronto Film Festival, actor Ed Harris demonstrates what the movie, A History of Violence, is about. Yikes.

8. Nardwuar, The Human Serviette is a brutal and obnoxious interviewer from Canada. Most celebrities run from him. But he is no match for Andrew WK, who slices open his own forehead on camera.

9. The late Harvey Pekar made many appearances on David Letterman's show. Unfortunately, he never started his own.

10. Finally, we arrive at what could be a new reality TV show called Bureacracy... starring the Vancouver City, WA City Council.

So, what did we learn about speaking into a mic? Don't stress. It's best when everything goes wrong.

Yesterday was October 10, 2010—10.10.10! To celebrate, we planned a bunch of 10 lists, and the mass listeria has spilled into 10.11.10. To see all the lists we've published so far, click here.


More from mental floss studios