Lost MGM titles-a tentative listing

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Harold Aherne

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Lost MGM titles-a tentative listing

PostThu Mar 06, 2008 1:42 pm

MGM has pretty much the best preservation rate among all the major studios (though UA might come close), but there are a number of titles not currently known to exist, or whose status is simply unknown (to me at least). Based on AMS postings by Jon Mirsalis and others, here's my list of lost and incomplete MGM titles and those whose status I haven't found anything on. For my purposes, "MGM" includes Metro-Goldwyn, so my listings contain titles released before "He Who Gets Slapped". I'll do this in two posts so this doesn't get overly long. And please don't hesitate to correct or make additions.

Titles presumed lost, listed by year

1924:
Tess of the D'Urbervilles
Bread
Broken Barriers
Sinners in Silk
Married Flirts
Circe the Enchantress
The Bandolero
Along Came Ruth
So This is Marriage?
The Wife of the Centaur
The Snob
The Silent Accuser [CNC may have material; unconfirmed]
The Beauty Prize
The Dixie Handicap

1925:
Cheaper to Marry
The Great Divide
A Slave of Fashion
Excuse Me
Man and Maid
The Prairie Wife
Never the Twain Shall Meet
The Tower of Lies
Bright Lights
Don't
The Masked Bride
The Great Love

1926:
Dance Madness
The Auction Block
The Barrier
Money Talks
The Boy Friend [UCLA may have material; unconfirmed]
The Waning Sex [MOMA & CNC may have material; unconfirmed]
The Gay Deceiver
Blarney
War Paint
Love's Blindness [BFI may have material; unconfirmed]
There You Are!

1927:
A Little Journey
The Demi-Bride
Frisco Sally Levy
Lovers?
California
The Frontiersman
The Callahans and the Murpheys [LOC may have material; unconfirmed]
The Bugle Call
Adam and Evil
The Road to Romance
Tea for Three
London After Midnight
Buttons

1928:
Baby Mine
The Divine Woman (one reel exists)
Wickedness Preferred
Rose-Marie
The Big City (UCLA has trailer)
Circus Rookies
The Actress
A Certain Young Man (UCLA has trailer)
Telling the World
The Adventurer
Four Walls
Excess Baggage
The Baby Cyclone
Beau Broadway
Brotherly Love
Shadows of the Night
Alias Jimmy Valentine
The Bushranger
The Masks of the Devil
Dream of Love
Diamond Handcuffs

1929:
Morgan's Last Raid
A Single Man
The Duke Steps Out
The Great Power
A Man's Man
Thunder (fragments)

1930:
The Rogue Song (fragments)
Last edited by Harold Aherne on Tue Apr 27, 2010 7:02 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Harold Aherne

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PostThu Mar 06, 2008 2:33 pm

Incomplete MGM titles, listed by year:

1925:
The Denial
Pretty Ladies (Technicolor sequence)
His Secretary

1926:
Mike
Lovey Mary
The Road to Mandalay
Tin Hats

1927:
The Enemy

1928:
The Latest From Paris
Laugh, Clown, Laugh (though not very much)
The Cameraman (as above)
While the City Sleeps

1929:
The Bellamy Trial
All at Sea
The Bridge of San Luis Rey

1930:
Chasing Rainbows (colour sequences)
Call of the Flesh (colour sequence replaced by alternate number)
Good News (Multicolor finale)

1931:
It's a Wise Child (? I've heard that one reel is lost, but this has supposedly run on TCM Europe or UK)

Status unknown:
This Mad World (1930)
Caught Short (1930) [UCLA has complete soundtrack]

Although Wonder of Women (1929) and Exquisite Sinner (1926) have usually been listed as lost, some reports indicate that Warners may have either or both, so I won't classify either for the time being.

Little Robinson Crusoe and One Night in Rome (both 1924) are both listed in the Gosfilmofond holdings; completeness is unknown. Daddy's Gone a-Hunting (1925) may exist in Prague and Madrid; holdings on these three have not been confirmed. The Desert Rider (1929) exists at GEH.

I don't have much information about the alternate language features MGM made from 1930-32, though at least a few of them are still around.

-Harold
Last edited by Harold Aherne on Sat Feb 01, 2014 9:28 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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greta de groat

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PostThu Mar 06, 2008 11:25 pm

For Daddy's Gone a Hunting, i have on my website:
A copy of this film is located at the Narodni Filmovy Archiv in Prague (unconfirmed) and the Filmoteca Española in Madrid (Unconfirmed)

I got these from a book on Frank Borzaage. I have not tried writing to the Spanish archive, but i have written to the Archive in Prague and not gotten a reply.

If someone knows more about these, i'd love to know!
greta
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Harlett O'Dowd

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PostFri Mar 07, 2008 7:30 am

I don't have my old programs handy, but didn't ALIAS, JIMMY VALENTINE run at Ciencon in the eary 1990s - or am I thinking of something else?
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PostFri Mar 07, 2008 10:58 am

Harlett O'Dowd wrote:I don't have my old programs handy, but didn't ALIAS, JIMMY VALENTINE run at Ciencon in the eary 1990s - or am I thinking of something else?


That was the 1915 version (with Robert Warwick and Johnny Hines) directed by Maurice Tourneur which was run at Cinecon back in the 1990s.

The 1928 MGM version stars Billy Haines and Lionel Barrymore.

There's also a 1920 version from Metro with Bert Lytell.

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Chris Snowden

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PostFri Mar 07, 2008 11:54 am

Harold Aherne wrote:Incomplete MGM titles, listed by year:

1925:
Pretty Ladies (Technicolor sequences, I think?)


-Harold



Pretty Ladies is a conventional drama that had one big splashy Ziegfeldesque production number in it, including a Norma Shearer cameo. That segment is gone, but otherwise the film is complete and stands very well as it is. I got to borrow a collector's 16mm print one time, and unless you already knew about that production number, you'd never guess one had ever been there.
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radiotelefonia

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PostSat Mar 08, 2008 3:17 am

THE MERRY WIDOW (1925) is not exactly complete. The ending was originally filmed in Technicolor.
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Harold Aherne

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PostSat Mar 08, 2008 11:53 am

radiotelefonia wrote:THE MERRY WIDOW (1925) is not exactly complete. The ending was originally filmed in Technicolor.


Quite right, although if the footage itself exists I chose not to count the film as incomplete. And there are several existing MGM titles that had colour sequences but for which I don't know specifically about the colour; e.g. "Monte Carlo", "Altars of Desire", "Winners of the Wilderness". Here are the titles I know of whose Technicolor sequences appear to survive only in B&W:

The Merry Widow (1925)
The Mysterious Island (1929)
The Broadway Melody (1929)

-Harold
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cawkercitykid

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PostThu Mar 12, 2009 8:13 pm

I am researching Claire Windsor and noticed that "The Denial" and "Tin Hats" have footage that has survived. Are the film fragments deposited right here in Kansas in the salt mines at Hutchinson? How many feet survive. Do you know what condition they are in? Any details you can pass on would be greatly appreciated.
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Jim Reid

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PostFri Mar 13, 2009 12:26 am

I have a question. Is Chaney's The Unknown complete? It plays just fine of course, but I find it hard to believe that MGM would release a non-comedy feature with one of it's biggest stars at less than 50 minutes in length.
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Jim Reid

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PostFri Mar 13, 2009 12:29 am

cawkercitykid wrote:Are the film fragments deposited right here in Kansas in the salt mines at Hutchinson?


I think the MGM film was moved out of the salt mines when Turner took over. Richard May would know. I've heard that the MGM nitrates all went to the Eastman House in Rochester, NY. If it was just part of a film, it's most likely at an archive somewhere. It could be anywhere.
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PostFri Mar 13, 2009 6:01 am

greta de groat wrote:For Daddy's Gone a Hunting, i have on my website:
A copy of this film is located at the Narodni Filmovy Archiv in Prague (unconfirmed) and the Filmoteca Española in Madrid (Unconfirmed)

I got these from a book on Frank Borzaage. I have not tried writing to the Spanish archive, but i have written to the Archive in Prague and not gotten a reply.

If someone knows more about these, i'd love to know!
greta


A bootleg dvd of "Daddy's Gone a Hunting" has been making the rounds. Title cards in Spanish. I think it's missing some footage but is close to complete.
Henry Nicolella
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Jay Salsberg

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PostFri Mar 13, 2009 8:03 am

One Technicolor reel of THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND exists in the UCLA archive.

As for THE UNKNOWN- The film's original length was listed at 5517', which would clock in at 61 minutes (and roughly 20 seconds). Certainly looks as if something is missing.

IIRC, Eastman House got the MGM nitrates in the '70s. Shortly thereafter, GEH had a devastating fire which destroyed the entire collection. Fortunately, MGM had duplicates of everything, and sent GEH the copies.
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Jack Theakston

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PostFri Mar 13, 2009 9:10 am

My cue sheet for THE UNKNOWN lists 5470 feet. I think Michael Blake in his commentary may have mentioned some briefly missing footage (at a reel change perhaps?)
J. Theakston
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Richard P. May

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PostFri Mar 13, 2009 11:02 am

The 1978 George Eastman House fire destroyed about 1200 reels of film. This is FAR from the "entire collection". GEH still holds a large quantity of MGM original negatives, including the 3-strip Technicolor films.
It is correct that all the destroyed negatives had already been protected with safety copies as part of MGM's very complete nitrate conversion program.

MGM started using UVS in Hutchinson, KS way, way back. With the migration to Turner, then WB, nothing has changed. This applies to safety film only, of course. Underground salt mines are no place for something flammable!
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Richard M Roberts

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PostFri Mar 13, 2009 12:05 pm

As for THE UNKNOWN- The film's original length was listed at 5517', which would clock in at 61 minutes (and roughly 20 seconds). Certainly looks as if something is missing.


61 minutes if you-re running it through a slide projector. More like 53-55 minutes if you're running it at the intended speed. Yep, theres a tad bit of footage still missing, but its inconsequential, especially if you combine whats there from the various surviving sources.

RICHARD M ROBERTS
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Danny Burk

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PostFri Mar 13, 2009 12:26 pm

At 90' per minute (=24 fps), I get a running time of 61.3 minutes. Seems right at 24 fps to me, and I definitely prefer my silents to have a little extra "snap" compared to 100% lifelike speed...
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Jack Theakston

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PostFri Mar 13, 2009 12:56 pm

The cue sheet's max. running time is 65 minutes, fwiw.
J. Theakston
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Gagman 66

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PostSat Mar 14, 2009 1:34 am

Harold,

:o Where is Josef' Von Sternberg's THE EXQUISITE SINNER (1926) on the list? Or has this film been found? I sure hope that it has. But all I have are conflicting reports. Nothing confirmed. I believe MAN & MAID does survive?
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Jack Theakston

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PostThu Aug 27, 2009 1:15 pm

Does anyone know how much of ALL AT SEA with Dane and Arthur survives? Specifically which reels?
J. Theakston
Capitol Theatre, Rome, NY
"You get more out of life when you go out to a movie!"
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Harlett O'Dowd

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PostFri Aug 28, 2009 6:55 am

Jack Theakston wrote:Does anyone know how much of ALL AT SEA with Dane and Arthur survives? Specifically which reels?


ooh - a glutton for punishment!
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Jack Theakston

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PostFri Aug 28, 2009 6:05 pm

Yeah, guess I should burn these reels, right?
J. Theakston
Capitol Theatre, Rome, NY
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LouieD

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PostFri Aug 28, 2009 6:40 pm

Harlett O'Dowd wrote:
Jack Theakston wrote:Does anyone know how much of ALL AT SEA with Dane and Arthur survives? Specifically which reels?


ooh - a glutton for punishment!


What?
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drednm

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PostTue Sep 01, 2009 5:19 am

The Girl in the Show certainly exists since I have a copy of it and I believe TCM has run it. It's a neat little film for Bessie Love, MGM's most busy star of 1929.

As for Marion Davies' It's a Wise Child,, I have also read that one reel is missing but the film was shown in Washington a few years ago, according to Nick Langdon (sp?) and reported on his Marion Davies website.
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drednm

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PostTue Sep 01, 2009 5:22 am

and as for Rose-Marie of 1928, did this film ever get made? I've seen print ads for Marion Davies as the star and stills of Joan Crawford in costume, but did the film ever go anywhere?
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LouieD

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PostTue Sep 01, 2009 6:01 am

Jack Theakston wrote:Yeah, guess I should burn these reels, right?


Does that mean you may have found some footage?
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Harold Aherne

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PostTue Sep 01, 2009 8:42 am

drednm wrote:and as for Rose-Marie of 1928, did this film ever get made? I've seen print ads for Marion Davies as the star and stills of Joan Crawford in costume, but did the film ever go anywhere?


Yes, it certainly did. Rose Marie had its general release and NY opening in February 1928; Mordaunt Hall reviewed it on 13 Feb. James Murray was her leading man; I suspect that The Crowd (which debuted about a week later) was largely in the can by the time production began on Rose Marie.

-Harold
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drednm

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PostTue Sep 01, 2009 9:20 am

Yes, Harold... you're right. It got made with Joan Crawford and James Murray.

I just saw the tragic James Murray in Bright Lights, a neat little musical that starred Dorothy Mackaill.
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The Blackbird

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PostSun Jan 17, 2010 6:45 pm

I believe ROSE MARIE was originally started with Renee Adoree and Lloyd Hamilton (!) among the cast. For reasons I'm hazy on (something to do with "problems" with Ms. Adoree) the production was eventually stopped and later resumed with the new cast.
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Harold Aherne

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PostFri Apr 23, 2010 7:53 pm

With help from Roger S. I have managed to fill in most of the remaining gaps in my "unknown" list above. A few remain unconfirmed one way or the other. Since Turner/WB does not seem to have any of the material in the unknown list and only 2 turned up in FIAF listings, I will file all the others in the "lost" section for now; perhaps someone reading this knows whether any of these have turned up.

-Harold
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