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An extraordinary number of important films are believed to be lost forever. How the loss could happen and if these missing gems can be recovered are explored by noted film critic and journalist Phil Hall. His extensive research reveals the circumstances that caused this cultural tragedy that spanned silent movies to the 1970s.


The astonishing disappearance of Hollywood, foreign, and independent films of significant historical and artistic importance includes Cleopatra (1917)with Theda Bara, The Great Gatsby (1926) with Warner Baxter, Humor Risk (1921) with The Marx Brothers, and London After Midnight (1927)with Lon Chaney. The works of Erich Von Stroheim, Oscar Micheaux, Orson Welles,Stanley Kramer, and Vincente Minnelli were impacted by this tragedy. Pioneering technological achievements in color cinematography, sound film technology,animation, and widescreen projection are also among the treasures that are presumed missing.


Discover the destruction of memorable movie masterpieces, and learn of heroic efforts in therace against time to salvage cinematic history.


About the author: Phil Hall has a three-decade career in film journalism. His film-related writing has appeared in The New York Times, New York Daily News, Wired, and Film Threat, and he is the host of The Online Movie Show on PPRN Radio. He is the author of six books, including The History of Independent Cinema and The Greatest Bad Movies of All Time.

"In Search of Lost Films discusses how cinema can fade into obscurity, and efforts to recover and reconstruct their contributions to cultural history. Chapters discuss the search for ten unique lost silent films, another ten unique sound era films, the hunt for missing sequences/segments, the circumstances that prompted the disappearance of groundbreaking footage, and much more. In Search of Lost Films is a "must-read" for dedicated cinema connoisseurs, highly recommended."

- Midwest Book Review

Article from John B. Valeri's blog "History's Mysteries"

Review from Plan Nine Crunch

Article from the Wilton Daily Voice


"In Search of Lost Films. Phil Hall (BearManor Media, 2016). Author Hall is on an important mission, and he reveals all about it in this impressive book. He explains why so many films throughout the world have disappeared. Hall also describes a number of these movies and discusses the difficulty of evaluating the work of stars like Theda Bara and Lon Chaney because so many of their films are missing. But my favorite part of the book lists the various (and sometimes strange) places where certain lost films have already been discovered.  After reading this book, I started looking closer at storage areas, closets and yard sales for suspicious-looking film canisters."
-- Carolyn Howard-Johnson's New Book Review