a year ago

The lost movies of the 20th century Hollywood

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Film Industry reached its peak not too long ago. Now it is one of the highest-earning industries worldwide. This transformation took quite some time, and the last century was the game changer for this industry. Let us go back exactly one century ago and analyse the situation.

The film Industry was in its infancy during the early 20th century. Many things we see today weren't common practices then. Movies were not produced and distributed the way they are today. 

Moreover, the film industry of different countries was in a different situation. The scenario of different cities in a country was not the same either. To understand the vast concept, we will consider one of the most prosperous film industries of that time—the Hollywood film industry.

There was a limited number of cinemas, even in the major cities. The success of a movie solely depended on the sales of the ticket in the first few days. If the number of tickets sold on the first day was not good enough, the movie was often used to be pulled out from the theatre, and a new one was put in its place. This left many good movies no chance to gain a following and success.

Once a movie was recognised as financially nonviable by the owner of its first projecting cinema hall, in most cases, the movie was abandoned. So the movie lost its opportunity to reach people or the target audience. 

Moreover, the movie stock systems were not too developed and were often made with unstable materials that deteriorated quickly with time, contributing to the loss of many masterpieces.

Now the question is, if all those movies were lost, how did we know there were some great movies in them? We can assume that because some copies of such movies were rediscovered and retrieved from time to time. You will be surprised to know the name of those movies. 

The first film adaptation of 'The Great Gatsby' was made in 1926, and it was a flop. The film was produced one year after the novel was released. The Academy Award-winning movie's first adaptation was a commercial failure. It was overshadowed by other movies released that year, such as 'Ben-Hur' and 'The Black Cat.' Subsequently, the movie was forgotten in the following years.

The movie was rediscovered in the Movie Archive of Australia. Funny story, the movie was mislabeled as another movie for decades. Restoring the 1920s version, efforts were made to make it reach the audiences. Then there were more adaptations of the movies made. The latest adaptation was made in 2013, directed by Baz Luhrman, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and became a commercial success.

'London After Midnight' is a horror movie starring Lon Chaney Sr., released in 1927. This film was believed to have been lost for many years until a reconstructed version was discovered in the 1960s. This silent horror film is considered one of history's most famous lost films. It was directed by Tod Browning, the director of 'Dracula' (1931) and 'Freaks' (1932).

'The Patriot' is a historical drama starring Emil Jannings, released in 1928. This film was believed to have been destroyed in a fire at the Fox Film Corporation in 1937. 

Then comes one of the greatest silent films ever made, 'Greed' (1924), 'The Magnificent Ambersons' (1942) and many more. 'Cleopatra' (1917) was a very successful movie, establishing the career of Theda Bara as the biggest star of the silent era. Yet the movie got lost, and no copies of the movie exist today.

Many lost films from the early 20th century have been rediscovered in recent years. But it is estimated that a significant portion of the films produced during this era has been lost forever. 

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