Lost Films

Discuss films and filmmakers of the 20th century (and even a little of the 19th century). Threads may contain spoilers.
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JSC
Joined: Thu May 16, 2013 9:17 am

Re: Lost Films

#426 Post by JSC » Thu Mar 15, 2018 9:12 am

There's a film that I've been hoping would turn up sometime, somewhere.
But so far no such luck.

The film is Alpha Beta. It's a British film from 1976 and stars Albert
Finney and Rachel Roberts. It's based on a play by E.A. Whitehead and
directed by Anthony Page. As far as I can tell it had a theatrical release in
Britain and the US (although in some books it is erroneously referred to
as a television production).

I could easily see this as a BFI flipside release or something along those
lines. Anyone have some info on this?

Jonathan S
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 3:31 am
Location: Somerset, England

Re: Lost Films

#427 Post by Jonathan S » Thu Mar 15, 2018 9:34 am

According to BBC Genome, it appears to have been transmitted twice on BBC2 in 1974 - assuming it is indeed the same production (cast and director match up), whether made for cinemas or TV.

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JSC
Joined: Thu May 16, 2013 9:17 am

Re: Lost Films

#428 Post by JSC » Thu Mar 15, 2018 10:29 am

According to BBC Genome, it appears to have been transmitted twice on BBC2 in 1974 -
assuming it is indeed the same production (cast and director match up), whether made for
cinemas or TV.
I assume it's the same production. According to imdb, the film was made by
Albert Finney's own company Memorial Enterprises. I don't see any indication
that the BBC was involved in the production per se. So it might have been
originally planned to premiere on television, followed by a theatrical release.

Jonathan S
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 3:31 am
Location: Somerset, England

Re: Lost Films

#429 Post by Jonathan S » Thu Mar 15, 2018 10:37 am

The BFI list it as a 1972 film, and it was passed by the the BBFC with an AA Certificate in March 1973. I suspect it was a very limited release as in those days films usually had to wait several years (most often five years) before TV broadcast. The imdb 1976 date presumably only applied to the long-delayed US release.

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JSC
Joined: Thu May 16, 2013 9:17 am

Re: Lost Films

#430 Post by JSC » Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:04 am

Thanks for the reply.

Sounds like the film had a spotty release history to say the least, which
is probably why it also sunk into oblivion. At least the BFI seems aware
of its existence if only because they put up a reference page for it.

ethel
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 5:47 am

Re: Lost Films

#431 Post by ethel » Fri Mar 16, 2018 7:39 am

ALPHA BETA was a ferocious two-handed play charting the decade-long collapse of a working class infatuation; one of a number of such plays by Ted Whitehead, who later adapted LIFE AND LOVES OF A SHE-DEVIL for TV.

The film ran under 75 minutes, and was an awkward sell both for its length and the brutal marital brawls it depicted. Superb direction by Page, with much handheld camera following the prowling, trapped, sour, bitter couple in their tiny flat. Portrayed by Finney and the tortured Rachel Roberts, it left the viewer (this one anyway) wrung out and not seeking a minute more of the physical and psychological violence.

It was shown in Australia around 1973 on a double-bill with a revival of THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, of all things, perhaps because of the theatrical nature of the pair.

It turned up once on late-night commercial TV in Australia in the early 80s, absurdly laced with adverts, and I treasure my digital cleanup of the battered VHS.

It would be a standout Flipside release, hopefully with Finney and Page’s participation.

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GaryC
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 3:56 pm
Location: Aldershot, Hampshire, UK

Re: Lost Films

#432 Post by GaryC » Fri Mar 16, 2018 7:21 pm

ethel wrote:The film ran under 75 minutes,
Just 66 according to the BBFC - who also give the distributor as Memorial Enterprises, so it seems the production company self-distributed it, though how much of a UK cinema release it had before turning up on TV I don't know.

I remember it turning up on TV, though I didn't see it, and wasn't old enough to see it in 1974 in any case. The Times's television listing for the first showing on 1.1.1974 calls it a play rather than a film, so maybe it bypassed British cinemas altogether? EDIT: and it appears it did. Finney is interviewed in The Times on 19.1.74 and says this about his acting on television: "Not since 1958 when I did EMERGENCY WARD 10. The recent ALPHA BETA on BBC2 wasn't really a television [sic] at all...we made it on location as a film."

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JSC
Joined: Thu May 16, 2013 9:17 am

Re: Lost Films

#433 Post by JSC » Fri Mar 16, 2018 8:27 pm

One of the things which piqued my interest in this film was having
read No Bells on Sunday: The Journals of Rachel Roberts, which
mentions the stage production in some detail. But also, I think I'm
correct in saying it's the only other time that Finney and Roberts
appeared together after Saturday Night and Sunday Morning,
twelve years before.

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George Kaplan
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 7:42 pm

Re: Lost Films

#434 Post by George Kaplan » Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:24 pm

JSC wrote:But also, I think I'm correct in saying it's the only other time that Finney and Roberts appeared together after Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, twelve years before.
They also co-starred in MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS in 1974. I, too, would love to see ALPHA BETA once again - anything with Roberts is to be treasured.

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JSC
Joined: Thu May 16, 2013 9:17 am

Re: Lost Films

#435 Post by JSC » Sat Mar 17, 2018 3:36 pm

They also co-starred in MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS in 1974. I, too, would love to see ALPHA BETA once again - anything with Roberts is to be treasured.
That's true, I totally forgot about that!

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aox
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:02 pm
Location: nYc

Re: Lost Films

#436 Post by aox » Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:53 am


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GaryC
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 3:56 pm
Location: Aldershot, Hampshire, UK

Re: Lost Films

#437 Post by GaryC » Mon Apr 30, 2018 4:27 pm

Not so much a lost film, but fragments of such and of some screen tests, discovered being recycled as leaders for other films in the BFI National Archive. All in two-strip Technicolor, and including a brief shot of Louise Brooks dancing, from her debut film The American Venus (1925), which is otherwise lost.

The BFI have put up an eight-minute compilation here, with a voiceover by Bryony Dixon.

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Ashirg
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:10 am
Location: Atlanta

Re: Lost Films

#438 Post by Ashirg » Tue May 22, 2018 10:33 pm

The Nest of the Cuckoo Birds. It already played on MUBI in November.

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Ashirg
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:10 am
Location: Atlanta

Re: Lost Films

#439 Post by Ashirg » Wed May 23, 2018 5:19 pm



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Saturnome
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2007 5:22 pm

Re: Lost Films

#441 Post by Saturnome » Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:08 pm

Another, though incomplete, Oswald cartoon is found, "Neck 'n' Neck" (1928). Six are left. Kind of amazing how Disney went from almost nothing to almost everything in a decade or so.


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L.A.
Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 7:33 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Re: Lost Films

#443 Post by L.A. » Sun Nov 18, 2018 2:27 pm

There is a screening in Helsinki on November 26th with Nikolai Izvolov who reconstructed the film in attendance. Will definitely be there.

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