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The Film That Was Lost (1942)

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A look at the problems of film preservation efforts in the 1930s and 1940s. Focuses on MOMA's efforts which commenced on August 8, 1935. It illustrates the problems with celluloid stock. It... See full summary »



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Title: The Film That Was Lost (1942)

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Cast overview:
William Jennings Bryan ...
Himself (archive footage)
John Nesbitt ...
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Woodrow Wilson ...
Himself (archive footage)
Queen Victoria ...
Herself (archive footage)
King George V ...
Himself (archive footage)
Kaiser Wilhelm II ...
Himself (archive footage)
Tsar Nicholas II ...
Himself (archive footage)
Grigory Rasputin ...
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Joseph Stalin ...
Himself (archive footage)


A look at the problems of film preservation efforts in the 1930s and 1940s. Focuses on MOMA's efforts which commenced on August 8, 1935. It illustrates the problems with celluloid stock. It emphasizes early newsreel clips of world leaders. We are shown early footage of King George V, The Kaiser, Queen Victoria, Theodore Roosevelt and others. Written by Thomas McWilliams <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | History






Release Date:

31 October 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Passing Parade No. 36: The Film That Was Lost  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?

Crazy Credits

All credited historical figures are identified by the narrator as they are viewed in newsreels. See more »


Follows XXX Medico (1940) See more »

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User Reviews

For film preservationists, a monumental short.
30 March 2013 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

In more recent years, film preservation has become super-important. And, fortunately, due to the proliferation of many new preservation groups, tons of old and historically important films are being pieced together and are appearing on DVD. However, "The Film That Was Lost" is a short film that reminds us that film preservation has actually been a concern for some time.

"The Film That Was Lost" focuses specifically on the earliest films that have to do with our history. In other words, the entertainment angle is NOT discussed in the film but the preservation of important historical figures and events. You'll see a variety of old clips of the likes of Czar Nicholas II, Woodrow Wilson, Thomas Edison, William Jennings Bryan and Queen Victoria--all of which are quite rare and fascinating. Naturally, the importance of preserving these clips is discussed as well as the work that is being done by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York in keeping these images for posterity.

By the way, even if you don't care for modern art, a trip to MoMA is well worth your time if you are New York City. A while back, I was able to see an old Laurel & Hardy Short ("Two Tars") and the full-length John Gilbert film "The Cossacks"--all accompanied by an organ in the lovely basement theater at MoMA. And, the two films looked about as nice as if they were brand new--thanks to the preservation work of these folks.

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