FILM / See the ones that got away: Readers' Season of Lost Films

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The Independent Culture
Last summer we considered the strange case of the Lost Films - memorable and important movies that, for one reason or another (mainly the vagaries of distribution and archiving) nobody can get to see any more. We hymned our favourites and asked you to nominate your own obsessions. The size of the mailbag and the fervour of the responses suggested that this was a subject dear to readers' hearts.

Titles mentioned ranged from Anthony Mann westerns like Man of the West, through relatively recent art films such as Peter Greenaway's The Draughtsman's Contract (due for re-release on video this summer) to William Wellman's Nothing Sacred.

One worrying thing to emerge was the fact that a film doesn't have to be either old or obscure to disappear from sight: Deac Rossell, the former head of planning at the National Film Theatre, pointed out that, when he wanted to screen Sydney Pollack's Bobby Deerfield (1977), he could find neither a studio nor an archive print and had to resort to the director's personal copy.

And, Rossell added, while many James Bond movies surface regularly on television, you will be hard-pressed to enjoy them as big-screen spectacles, since there are 'virtually no showable copies'.

Now, in collaboration with the National Film Theatre, we hope to mount a search for some of those films missing- presumed-lost, and invite your suggestions for an Independent readers' season of Lost Films. It will take place at the NFT this autumn and will be programmed on the basis of rarity, artistic excellence and the ingenuity and eloquence of your letters. We can't promise A Clockwork Orange, but we'll do our best to meet requests.

Send in your nominations, arguing the case for your choice in not more than 150 words, to: Lost Films, Arts, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.

(Photograph omitted)

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