The Most-Wanted Earliest Movies that were Lost

The Most-Wanted Earliest Movies that were Lost

The Most-Wanted Earliest Movies that were Lost
Image Credits: The Vintage News

Countless digital copies of films exist today, but not too long ago, everything had to be stored physically. This meant that only so many copies could be made of the earliest movies. There are many classics that are now lost to us due to the negligence and fragility of humans. Read on to learn more about some of those earliest movies.

The Fairylogue and Radio-Plays

The Fairylogue and Radio-Plays - Earliest Movies

This movie was divided into two parts. The first part was presented with a slideshow and commentary while the second half was a live-action play. This film debuted on September 24, 1908, and was produced by the Selig Polyscope Company of Chicago. The story was a travelogue to L. Frank Baum’s Land of Oz.

During its two-month run, it achieved critical acclaim but could not generate a substantial profit. It might seem surprising but the ticket prices were quite high at $1. Owing to the great production costs of this movie, it couldn’t make much money. Baum was forced to sell the rights to three of his books to Selig to avoid bankruptcy. They acted as source material for another film, The Wonderful World of Oz.

It is rumored that some scenes from the movie were incorporated into later Selig productions. However, most people believe that everything has been lost.

Jail Birds of Paradise

Jail Birds of Paradise - Earliest Movies

Released on 10th March 1934, it was a short film like most of the earliest movies. It was only 18 minutes long. The film shows a prison that has been converted into a luxury hotel. Basically, the warden’s daughter made this transformation as her father was away. She had reduced the guards to servants who performed menial tasks.

It featured Moe and Curly Howard of The Three Stooges. It was a typical display of the slapstick comedy for which they would become known. Moe played an axe murderer transferred from Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary. On the other hand, Curly was a toupée-wearing mastermind of a bald cure scam. The film concluded with a riot breaking out, and gunshots being heard throughout the jail.

Alam Ara

Alam Ara - Earliest Movies

It is one of the earliest movies produced in India and is hardly known outside the sub-continent. Having said that, it does have a lot of significance as it was the first “talkie” produced in India. Released on March 14, 1931, it featured a romance between a gypsy and a prince. A soundtrack of this film became wildly popular and the movie quickly became a hit. The basic structure it introduced pervades Bollywood to this day.

There were no known copies of the movie remaining by 1967. One might have lain hidden within the National Film Archives of India until 2003. A fire broke out in this institution that would have burned that copy if it was actually there. Other landmark films could be recovered from private collections, but nothing remains of Alam Ara except some stills and posters.



Peludópolis is widely considered to be the first animated feature film with sound in it. It premiered in Argentina in 1931 and satirized the country’s political situation. The director and main animator, Quirino Cristiani, had specifically targeted Hipólito Yrigoyen. He was the President of the country when the production began. However, he was deposed in 1930 when the movie was nearing completion. Consequently, Cristiani was forced to make some quick changes.

The former president was still shown as a corrupt politician and the generals were featured as liberators. Though its critical reception was positive, it failed to entertain the public. This is because the people found the situation too serious to be laughed at. Because the movie generated little profit and Walt Disney soon entered the Argentinian market, Cristiani retired from full-length animated film-making.

Saved from the Titanic

Saved from the Titanic

Saved from the Titanic was released a mere 29 days after the Titanic sank. This makes it the first film to be released about the tragedy. It starred Dorothy Gibson, a relatively unknown American actress with experience in silent films. She co-wrote the script for this movie at the behest of the French film company, Éclair. Being a survivor of the shipwreck, she was uniquely qualified for the job. She had in fact been on board the very first lifeboat to be launched.

Gibson played a fictional version of herself set to marry a Navy ensign named Jack. He is asked to choose between the Navy and the traumatized Gibson by her mother. He chooses the Navy and is surprised to find that Gibson’s father gives him her hand anyway. Only a few production stills from the movie exist anymore. The last known copy was destroyed in a fire at Éclair Studios in 1914.

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