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"Fragments", TCM Sunday, September 9th

A. Pismo Clam

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I hope that you silent screen fans had the opportunity to watch this wonderful program, yet sad at how much cinema's early history is gone forever.

So many silent and early talkies or just one reelers/several frames of movies, are no longer with us, due to the nitrate film disintegration. It was a very interesting 1 1/2 hour program; I'm certain that there must be enough classic titles to have many hours or dialog on those films that we no longer have. Fire & negligence were also responsible for the losses. The early talkies, sound and photography, were two, separate entities, the voices/dialog recorded on a disc.

I learned that the coming attractions were shown at the conclusion of the feature film...not at the beginning as we currently see.

Coleen Moore, Clara Bow, Theda Bara, Lon Chaney all have tantalizing lists of movies that no longer exist.

Frank Capra's "Lost Horizon" [1937] is one of my favorite films. "The Magnificent Ambersons" too has lost ["edited"] scenes it it, but for a different reason. Still, the loss remains the same.

I don't know if the above program remains elsewhere on TCM, but I'd advise you to watch it if indeed it is.

To the cinematic world, these losses can only be compared to some of Shakespeare's literary works, where only titles of works exist...


Edited by A. Pismo Clam
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I truly enjoyed this documentary. I wanted to recommend it to a friend who missed viewing it on TCM, hoping it was in DVD format and available for purchase or streaming or for borrowing through a public library. Sadly, I do not find that the documentary is in DVD or Blu-Ray format for purchase or streaming nor that it is held by any library in the USA, including the Library Congress. At least the film is not listed in the Library of Congress catalog nor is it listed in WorldCat.org, a database of library holdings worldwide. Sigh . . .

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