Lost Films Found

I’ve been reading Sylvaine Agacinski’s fascinating book, Time Passing, today. TP touches on many of the questions that I’ll be addressing in my time-travel cinema book, particularly the relationship between mechanical reproduction (photography and cinema) and memory. In one particular passage, Agacinski writes about the way in which a photograph creates an “illusion of contemporaneity” between the observer and the photographed object, which results in “confusing their respective times” (92). She uses metaphors of ghosts and haunting, which inevitably reminded me of my media horror essay (currently under revision). But more importantly, her comments recalled for me one of the first known time-travel films, Berkeley Square (Frank Lloyd, 1933), a film that has haunted my project since it was a dissertation. I’d been led to believe that there were no copies of the film available, but thanks to an IMDB reviewer, I’ve discovered that isn’t the case (and if everything goes as planned I’ll have a copy in a few days).

Arne Andersen, the IMDB reviewer, also has a website worth checking out, the Lost Film Files, where Andersen lists lost films from the years 1925-1929 in the hopes of assisting researches in knwoing what’s available and what has been lost. It’s a useful resource, especially given the questions of archivability that always seem to haunt the cinematic medium.

Hoping to have more to say about Time Passing later this week. …

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