Place to look for lost films, ever found one?

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caldog123

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Place to look for lost films, ever found one?

PostMon Feb 13, 2017 5:04 pm

Hello,

As a filmmaker, I realized that film history is one of the most important aspects of filmmaking, and for some reason, I love to study the earliest of film, but I have always wanted to find a lost film. I realized the internet is the best place to find them, but does anyone know anybody who has found a lost film randomly, internet or not? I did once, but it turns out that there was a pristine full copy in an archive. It was on a keystone toy projector.

Let me know, and thank you!

Cal
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silentfilm

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Re: Place to look for lost films, ever found one?

PostMon Feb 13, 2017 9:44 pm

I've found a rare color 16mm travelogue from the 1950s that was produced by the Ford Motor company at an antique store for $10. I have a friend who found a nitrate reel at an antique store. When I told him to go back and buy it, he went back and somebody else had already bought it.

I've purchased a 35mm nitrate Tom Mix abridgement on eBay, but it's against the law to ship nitrate in the mail. When I purchased the film, the seller didn't indicate that it was nitrate. This film, A Child of the Prairie wasn't lost, but the Library of Congress didn't have any material on this title, so I donated it to them.
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milefilms

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Re: Place to look for lost films, ever found one?

PostMon Feb 13, 2017 10:00 pm

My first lost film was given to me by a video store in Summit, NJ. Before it was "legit" it had been a porno store (in the back of another store) dealing in 16mm and 8mm films. Somehow a 35mm nitrate print from 1913 of the building of St. Thomas Episcopal on 53rd and 5th popped up in the store. The owner gave it to me and I donated it to MoMA since they're neighbors. I have to say, in all my years, I can't say I found one in a flea market or store. They all were discovered "lost" in archives or labs and they were all found going through the paperwork.
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Spiny Norman

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Re: Place to look for lost films, ever found one?

PostTue Feb 14, 2017 1:47 am

Once in an antique store. Just once. There doesn't seem to be a trick that can be repeated.
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EdibleCamphor

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Re: Place to look for lost films, ever found one?

PostWed Feb 15, 2017 10:02 pm

If you have the eBay app, you can "follow" certain keywords like "16mm film" or "old movie film". And a list of everything that will be posted under that keyword you can see on a list. Look through it once or twice a day, and If you see any Kodascopes or silent comedies with people with names that don't sound familiar, do some research on it, maybe contact some people, and if it isn't too much, go for it. And even if you find a silent one-reeler that isn't lost, if it isnt on any home video (including Grapevine and a lot of the smaller companies) or isn't shown at festivals (often) then you got a somewhat rare find and if, they're good, they're fun to watch and show to friends.
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Penfold

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Re: Place to look for lost films, ever found one?

PostThu Feb 16, 2017 4:22 am

I could use some digital restoration myself...
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Rick Lanham

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Re: Place to look for lost films, ever found one?

PostThu Feb 16, 2017 10:31 am

Penfold wrote:Well, this is what happened to me..... :D http://www.powell-pressburger.org/Reviews/39_Smith/SmithStory.html


Wow! What a great story. Everyone should go read it!

Rick
“The past is never dead. It's not even past” - Faulkner.
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silentfilm

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Re: Place to look for lost films, ever found one?

PostThu Feb 16, 2017 12:14 pm

Penfold wrote:Well, this is what happened to me..... :D http://www.powell-pressburger.org/Reviews/39_Smith/SmithStory.html


Wow! That is a great story.

And to "EdibleCamphor", 16mm collectors like me already have eBay searches set up. Some of mine are for Laurel and Hardy and Buster Keaton, as I need many of their films for my collection. A simple "16mm film" search would turn up hundreds of new hits every day.

The are nitrate films listed on eBay at least once a month, but they usually go for a high price.
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luciano

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Re: Place to look for lost films, ever found one?

PostFri Mar 03, 2017 10:42 am

I came across a french film from 1906 on eBay once in a 35mm safety print. It was somewhat hammered when I got it, but I had been friendly enough with the seller that he called me up when he found the negative. He also added that it was twice as long and didn't bother to find out what was on it. He sold it to me for the same price as the hammered print. The amazing thing was that there was another film on it from 1907. It was checked and discovered to be a lost Pathe comedy, and the kicker is that it was a wonderful negative with pristine original titles. It was from estate sale and whoever owned it made an incredible negative from an original french Pathe nitrate print. All I can say is that you can never predict where it will come from, so look anywhere where there's 35mm film, get really friendly with the seller, and be especially curious about anything unlabelled.
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R Michael Pyle

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Re: Place to look for lost films, ever found one?

PostSun Mar 19, 2017 6:12 am

Penfold wrote:Well, this is what happened to me..... :D http://www.powell-pressburger.org/Reviews/39_Smith/SmithStory.html

I went to a talk by Cokie Roberts yesterday, and I think the main thing that came across to me - a writer of history - was: check, check, check, check your sources!

Yours is a great story!
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telical

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Re: Place to look for lost films, ever found one?

PostTue Mar 28, 2017 9:49 pm

About a month or so ago I was in the Pacific Galleries which is a huge upscale antique mall (for Seattle) and there was a wall with several reels. I've seen film reels before in antique malls around here. i don't recall if any looked like nitrate, and I've never been around it, so not sure I would know.
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Darren Nemeth

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Re: Place to look for lost films, ever found one?

PostThu May 25, 2017 10:14 am

I found four one reelers at the local flea market two summers ago for five bucks each. The oldest was from 1908. They are all at the LoC and MoMA.

One was a lost Pearl White comedy from 1913 that was in a can for a film released in 1905! :D

Older films can be had at the overseas eBays. The nitrate opportunities at the USA eBay dried up about 8 to 10 years ago. There used to be two or three auctions pop up per week but they rarely happen any more.
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