It's a depressing fact that film preservation is a relatively new idea, and filmmakers like Martin Scorsese do their best to champion the archival and restoration of classic films. However, plenty of films are simply "lost" because nobody thought to take care of the original negative, and the fact that original film print was incredibly flammable back in the silent days, combined with the lack of home video facilities meant that it really was in the hands of those who made the films to ensure they were kept safe. However, some lost films have turned up, and it's often in the most unexpected of places, whereby someone clearly hasn't intended to preserve the film, and has simply stumbled across it by accident. Here are 10 lost movies and the absurd places they turned up...
10. The Passion of Joan Of Arc - Janitor's Closet In Mental Institution
1928's The Passion Of Joan Of Arc is widely considered to be the best screen portrayal of the historical figure, driven by iconic imagery such as the above, yet in the most obscene fashion, the master print was destroyed in a fire believed to have been set by either French nationals or uppity Catholics. All that remained were bits and pieces of a second cut of the film, or so they thought...because in 1981, a Danish print of the film was found in the janitor's closet of a mental institution situated in Norway. One can't quite imagine what it was doing stashed away there, but nevertheless, the print was the full, uncut article, and in 1985 the Cinematheque Francaise restoration was completed, returning this classic back to its former glory.
Frequently sleep-deprived film addict and video game obsessive who spends more time than is healthy in darkened London screening rooms. Follow his twitter on @ShaunMunroFilm or e-mail him at shaneo632 [at] gmail.com.