BFI 75 Most Wanted
The BFI 75 Most Wanted is a list compiled in 2010 by the British Film Institute of the most sought-after British feature films not 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.
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.
Films (in chronological order)
Films highlighted in green have been found. Films highlighted in beige have significant segments or scenes still extant, or exist in cut versions.
|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|
|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 that it had discovered a copy.|
|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. A print of the American release, titled Behind the Mask, has been found, but it is a cut version of the original UK film.|
|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. No print can currently be located. Although it is said to have been shown on British television as recently as 1987, the only film of this title which appears to have been shown that year in the digital archives of the Times, Guardian, Daily Express and Daily Mirror is a 1985 American TV movie.|
|1943||Deadlock||Harris Ronald Haines||Convoluted thriller with John Slater in dual role as twins. It is now available on DVD.|
|1943||It's in the Bag||Mason Herbert Mason||Popular Gert and Daisy slapstick comedy|
|1943||Squadron Leader X||Comfort Lance Comfort||Extremely well-reviewed at the time of release, sought due to critical reassessment of Comfort's importance in British cinema history. Story by Emeric Pressburger.|
|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".|
|1944||Welcome, Mr. Washington||Hiscott Leslie S. Hiscott||American soldiers in an English village. Rediscovered c.2015.|
|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".|
|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.|
|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.|
|1952||Hammer the Toff||Rogers Maclean Rogers||Two films based on the John Creasey character The Toff. Salute the Toff was released on DVD in 2013 and Hammer the Toff is being released on March 2016.|
|1952||Salute the Toff|
|1953||Small Town Story||Tully Montgomery Tully||Football thriller with appearances by Denis Compton and the Arsenal and Millwall football teams. Starring Donald Houston and Susan Shaw. Has now been found, restored and released on DVD.|
|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.|
|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. The first nearly five minutes can also be viewed on YouTube.|
|1957||Alive on Sunday||Travers Alfred Travers|
|1957||Second Fiddle||Elvey Maurice Elvey||Elvey's last film, it is now available on DVD.|
|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 for many years the negatives remained missing. In February 2016 it was announced that with the help of the BFI, they had been obtained and the film would be released on DVD.|
|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.|
- 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.
- Josephine Botting (29 November 2012). "BFI Most Wanted: our discoveries so far". BFI. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
- Filmmuseum ontdekt meesterwerk. www.NOS.nl
- "Film: 91524". huntleyarchives.com. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
- Brooks, Richard (10 January 2016). "Wartime film returns to big screen after going Awol for 72 years". The Sunday Times. London. Retrieved 10 January 2016. (subscription required)
- https://www.theguardian.com/film/video/2015/aug/04/small-town-story-football-corruption-clips-video. Retrieved 14 February 2016.
- "The Diamond / BFI Most Wanted". British Film Institute. Retrieved 26 May 2014.
- "The Diamond - 1954 First British 3D Film (intro)". YouTube. Retrieved 26 May 2014.
- "Lost Euro-Horror Film 'Symptoms' Unearthed by Mondo Macabro! [Exclusive]". bloody-disgusting.com. Retrieved 6 February 2016.