BFI 75 Most Wanted

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The BFI 75 Most Wanted is a list compiled by the British Film Institute of their most sought-after British feature films not currently held in the BFI National Archive, and classified as "missing, believed lost". The films chosen range from quota quickies and B-movies to lavish prestige productions of their day. The list includes lost works by major directors and those featuring top-name actors; also films which were top box-office successes in their time but have since disappeared, and works which are believed to be historically significant for some aspect of style, technique, subject matter or innovation.[1]

The earliest film on the list dates from 1913, the latest from 1983. The 1930s is the most represented decade with 24 entries, followed by the 1920s (16) and the 1940s (14). Maurice Elvey, with four films on the list, is the most represented director. The first film on the list is Alfred Hitchcock's 1926 feature The Mountain Eagle, described as "the Holy Grail of film historians".

Late in 2012, the BFI revealed that a number of the films on the list had been found.[2]

Films (in chronological order)[edit]

Year Title Director Notes
1913 Maria Marten, or the Mystery of the Red Barn Elvey Maurice Elvey From first year of Elvey's directorial career. Dramatisation of the notorious Red Barn Murder, filmed in the actual locations in which the events took place
1914 Study A Study in Scarlet Pearson George Pearson Earliest British Sherlock Holmes feature
1916 Milestones Bentley Thomas Bentley Ambitious multi-generational family saga, over 2 hours long
1919 First The First Men in the Moon Leigh J.L.V. Leigh First direct H.G.Wells film adaptation
1920 Amazing The Amazing Quest of Mr. Ernest Bliss Edwards Henry Edwards
1921 Adventures The Adventures of Mr. Pickwick Bentley Thomas Bentley Early Dickens adaptation
1921 Narrow The Narrow Valley Hepworth Cecil Hepworth Starring Alma Taylor, highly praised for its location shots of the South Downs countryside
1923 Love, Life and Laughter Pearson George Pearson Acclaimed on release as "a screen classic" and "a masterpiece". On 2 April 2014 Dutch filmmuseum EYE reported to have discovered a copy.[3]
1923 Reveille Pearson George Pearson Socially significant World War I drama. Small segments believed to survive in private hands
1923 Woman to Woman Cutts Graham Cutts Hitchcock as assistant director and uncredited screenwriter
1924 Lily of the Alley Edwards Henry Edwards Experimental silent without use of intertitles
1924 Who Is the Man? Summers Walter Summers Screen debut of John Gielgud
1926 London Wilcox Herbert Wilcox Big-budget "Limehouse" picture starring Dorothy Gish
1926 Mademoiselle from Armentieres Elvey Maurice Elvey Highest-grossing British film of 1926. A little under one third is known to survive in fragments
1926 Mountain The Mountain Eagle Hitchcock Alfred Hitchcock The only lost Hitchcock feature film (his short An Elastic Affair is also lost). One of the world's most sought-after lost films.
1927 Arcadians The Arcadians Saville Victor Saville Curiosity as to how a silent version was made of a popular stage musical
1927 Story The Story of the Flag Dyer Anson Dyer First full-length British animation
1927 Tip Toes Wilcox Herbert Wilcox Another Dorothy Gish vehicle, mauled by critics
1929 Crooked The Crooked Billet Brunel Adrian Brunel Starring Madeleine Carroll. May have been released in both silent and sound versions
1929 Last The Last Post Shurey Dinah Shurey Solo directorial debut of Britain's only female film director of this period
1930 Lord Richard in the Pantry Forde Walter Forde
1930 School for Scandal Elvey Maurice Elvey Only film shot in the abortive Raycol colour process. Only screened in black-and-white
1930 Too Many Crooks King George King British film debut of Laurence Olivier
1931 Deadlock King George King First British talkie to use a film set as its dramatic location.
1931 Hobson's Choice Bentley Thomas Bentley Conflicting reports as to whether George Formby appeared in this film
1931 Lloyd of the C.I.D. Macrae Henry MacRae 12-part sound serial, the only such ever made in Britain not targeted at a juvenile audience. Known to have been extant in 1977, but has since proved untraceable
1931 Two Crowded Hours Powell Michael Powell Powell's directorial debut, an unexpected box-office success
1932 Castle Sinister Newman Widgey R. Newman Early British horror film, intriguing tagline "Mad doctor tries to put girl's brain into apeman's head"
1932 Men of Tomorrow Sagan Leontine Sagan Screen debut of Robert Donat
1933 Counsel's Opinion Dwan Allan Dwan Early Alexander Korda production
1933 Yes, Mr Brown Buchanan Jack Buchanan Buchanan's first starring and directing role
1934 Badger's Green Brunel Adrian Brunel First production credit of Anthony Havelock-Allan
1934 Path The Path of Glory Bower Dallas Bower Exceptionally sophisticated and polished quota quickie
1934 To Be a Lady King George King Only lost sound film starring Chili Bouchier
1935 Murder at Monte Carlo Ince Ralph Ince Screen debut of Errol Flynn
1935 Price The Price of a Song Powell Michael Powell One of Powell's most favourably reviewed quota quickies
1935 Public The Public Life of Henry the Ninth Mainwaring Bernerd Mainwaring First-ever Hammer Films production
1936 Educated Evans Beaudine William Beaudine Considered the best of Max Miller's films
1936 Man The Man Behind the Mask Powell Michael Powell Powell's last quota quickie
1936 Scarab The Scarab Murder Case Hankinson Michael Hankinson The only Philo Vance film made in Britain
1937 Vulture The Vulture Ince Ralph Ince Last film directed by Ince before his death in a road accident
1938 Viper The Viper Neill Roy William Neill Sequel to The Vulture
1939 Good The Good Old Days Neill Roy William Neill The only Max Miller film with a period setting
1939 Murder Will Out Neill Roy William Neill Playing in cinemas at outbreak of World War II
1940 Dr. O'Dowd Mason Herbert Mason Irish-set drama, screen debut of Peggy Cummins. Enthusiastically reviewed in Ireland ("a film about Ireland with a difference...no animals in the living rooms of the homes.")
1941 This Man Is Dangerous Huntington Lawrence Huntington The only missing James Mason film. Last shown on TV in the UK in 1987, but no print can currently be located
1943 Deadlock Harris Ronald Haines Convoluted thriller with John Slater in dual role as twins. It is now available on DVD.[2]
1943 It's in the Bag Mason Herbert Mason Popular Gert and Daisy slapstick comedy
1943 Squadron Leader X Comfort Lance Comfort Sought due to critical reassessment of Comfort's importance in British cinema history
1944 Kiss the Bride Goodbye Stein Paul L. Stein Pre-stardom Jean Simmons role. The Huntley Film Archives states that it has "the whole film".[4]
1944 Welcome, Mr. Washington Hiscott Leslie S. Hiscott American soldiers in an English village. Comparison with the same year's A Canterbury Tale
1945 Flight from Folly Mason Herbert Mason First starring screen role of stage star Patricia Kirkwood
1945 For You Alone Faithfull Geoffrey Faithfull Lavish wartime melodrama, a huge box-office hit
1945 World The World Owes Me a Living Sewell Vernon Sewell Lost film from a re-evaluated director. The Library of Congress possesses "nitrate material".[2]
1948 Bless 'Em All Hill Robert Jordan Hill Army comedy-musical, screen debut of Max Bygraves. A 2½-minute trailer survives, while a cut-down version titled Be Kind Sergeant turned up on eBay.[2]
1948 But Not in Vain Greville Edmond T. Gréville Tense World War II drama by increasingly studied director
1948 Somewhere in Politics Blakeley John E. Blakeley Mancunian Films production starring Frank Randle. An 18-minute segment survives
1949 Golden The Golden Madonna Vajda Ladislao Vajda Location-shot in Italy, starring Phyllis Calvert
1950 Double Confession Annakin Ken Annakin Peter Lorre's only non-Hitchcock British film. A DVD is now available.[2]
1952 Hammer the Toff Rogers Maclean Rogers Two films based on the John Creasey character The Toff
1952 Salute the Toff Rogers Maclean Rogers as above
1953 Small Town Story Tully Montgomery Tully Football thriller with appearances by Denis Compton and the Arsenal and Millwall football teams
1953 Three Steps in the Dark Birt Daniel Birt Murder mystery starring Greta Gynt. It is in the collection of the National Film and Sound Archive in Australia.[2]
1954 Diamond The Diamond Tully Montgomery Tully The first British 3D film. According to BFI, however, it was shown only once in 3D, on 13 September 2006 in Hollywood.[5] The first nearly five minutes can also be viewed on YouTube.[6]
1957 Alive on Sunday Travers Alfred Travers
1957 Second Fiddle Elvey Maurice Elvey Elvey's last film, it is now available on DVD.[2]
1960 Linda Sharp Don Sharp Teen-drama starring Carol White and Alan Rothwell. Originally shown on a double-bill with Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
1962 Crosstrap Hartford Robert Hartford-Davis Directorial debut, reportedly with exceptionally graphic violence for its time
1963 Farewell Performance Tronson Robert Tronson Murder mystery set in the pop world, with performances from Joe Meek acts including The Tornados and Heinz
1968 Sleep Is Lovely (aka, The Other People) Hart David Hart Believed to be experimental in filming style, no evidence of screening to a trade or paying audience
1969 Promise The Promise Hayes Michael Hayes The first time Russian playwright Aleksei Arbuzov allowed any of his works to be filmed. Stars Ian McKellen
1971 Nobody Ordered Love Hartford Robert Hartford-Davis Following poor promotion and a critical panning, Hartford-Davis reportedly took back all prints and ordered them to be destroyed after his death
1972 Cherry The Cherry Picker Curran Peter Curran Mild sexploitation comedy with cast including Lulu, Spike Milligan and Terry-Thomas. Believed to be still in private circulation via inferior quality bootleg copies, but original prints and negatives are missing
1973 Symptoms Larraz José Ramón Larraz British entry in the 1974 Cannes Film Festival. Also believed to circulate privately through bootlegs, but original source material has not been traced
1983 Where Is Parsifal? Helman Henri Helman Cast includes Orson Welles, Tony Curtis and Peter Lawford. Shown at 1984 Cannes Film Festival but withdrawn before scheduled UK release. Never publicly available in UK or U.S., the original English-language sources are missing. Director Helman donated "his personal 35mm print, with French subtitles" to the British Film Institute.[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ BFI 75 Most Wanted BFI National Archive. Note: For references and further information for individual films, follow this link then click on the appropriate film name.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Josephine Botting (29 November 2012). "BFI Most Wanted: our discoveries so far". BFI. Retrieved 9 January 2013. 
  3. ^ Filmmuseum ontdekt meesterwerk. www.NOS.nl
  4. ^ "Film: 91524". huntleyarchives.com. Retrieved 30 May 2014. 
  5. ^ "The Diamond / BFI Most Wanted". British Film Institute. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  6. ^ "The Diamond - 1954 First British 3D Film (intro)". YouTube. Retrieved 26 May 2014.