Wikipedia Time-Sink – Recovered Movies

Sometimes you can be reading a page on Wikipedia, follow a link to another article, and before you you know it you’ve got more tabs open, than there are pubs or bars that you can remember the name of, offhand.

So, at the risk of awaking your dormant Wikiholism (Wikiphilia?), here’s some interesting stuff I was looking at today…

so a week or two ago, I picked up the Giorgio Moroder version of Metropolis on DVD, at Amazon’s Prime Day sale. Haven’t watched it yet. But I was looking at the Wikipedia page on Metropolis. I had a version on my Amazon UK public wishlist since before I moved here. I also had a version on a hidden wishlist, and during that research added the most complete version to that wishlist.

Amazon UK sent me a 1-day-only £10 code, because they’d been voted top retailer in the UK. I forgot I also had £10 credit there.

I was on Wikipedia making sure that the UK DVD of Metropolis had all the same restored scenes as the US one. I think the UK one has the German intertitle cards as an option, where the US one only has subtitles.

From Wikipedia’s Metropolis entry, I followed a link to “List of films in the public domain” – Metropolis having a slightly complicated history in that regard. There was some interesting stuff there, but more of a jackpot was another link I followed from Metropolis: “List of rediscovered films“.

I find these interesting, perhaps mainly because of the occasional recovery of missing Doctor Who episodes from the ’60s. I watched the BFI documentaries, “The Lost World Of Friese-Greene” and “The Lost World Of Mitchell & Kenyon“, pioneers in different ways in early film-making, then their works were lost, and their names far from the public consciousness. (Time-sink: following the link also to The Lost World Of Tibet, then The 14th Dalai Lama”.)

There’s some interesting stuff in the rediscovered films list. Pretty early on, there’s the first detective film, which is also the first film featuring Sherlock Holmes. Also, it lasts only 30 seconds.

Frankenstein from 1910. Bought in the ’50s by a film collector, who only realised later that it’s really rare.

The first film that credits Mary Pickford, who is interesting enough to read about in her own right. “She appeared in 51 films in 1909 – almost one a week.”

Richard III from 1912. First full-length Shakespeare film, apparently still doing the rounds in the ’50s or ’60s. Returned in ’96 by a projectionist who admitted he stole it and kept it hidden for more than three decades. The way this list is going, he probably saved it from being lost forever.

Another Sherlock Holmes, the only film starring a particular actor, who was famous for playing the role on stage.

The Snow White that inspired Disney to make Snow White.

A 1919 German film that the Nazis tried to destroy, found in the ’70s in Ukraine. “One of the earliest known sympathetic depictions of homosexuality in film.”

Lots of interesting stuff. Kind of like archaeology, lost then recovered, most of it found here and the rest found there. The films themselves are stories, but their recoveries can be stories just as interesting.

Tarzan and the Golden Lion – “Thought lost until a print was discovered in the closet of a French asylum in the 1990s.”

What things jump out at you from the “List of rediscovered films”?

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