Most of the movies made before sound hit the big screen will never be seen by our eyes. According to Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation, half of the films made before 1950 — and more than 90 per cent of those made before 1929 — are lost forever. And while not all of them are lost, you’ll probably never see the films that remain, since they’re rarely screened. Their posters are all that remain of Hollywood’s beginnings.
Often, these glittering adverts are just as much art as the forgotten films themselves. These are some of our favourites:
Bungalow Boobs, 1924
Doctor X, 1932, is actually not lost. It was preserved in 1978 and done up in technicolor when a print was discovered in Jack Warner’s personal collection.
1928’s Red Hair is lost, save for a colour sequence preserved at UCLA’s Film and Television archive.
The Impossible Mrs Bellew, 1922
Only one reel of 1923’s Flaming Youth survives. It’s kept at the Library of Congress.
All that remains of 1926’s The American Venus are two trailers and two clips, housed at the Library of Congress.
The Sea Hawk, 1924 (not lost)
In the Palace of the King, 1923
There is no known copy of Tip Toes (1927) in existence today.