Lost…and Found: London After Midnight?

Hot on the reels of the METROPOLIS uncut print comes this fascinating news about one of the most famous “lost” films of all time: LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT from 1927. Alternately titled THE HYPNOTIST, directed by Tod Browning (FREAKS) and featuring one of Lon Chaney’s greatest fiend creations (and burned on the memory of 60’s “Famous Monsters of Filmland” fans), the movie was long thought to have melted in an MGM vault fire in 1967. A restoration was done in 2002 for Turner Classic Movies using rare photographs but just last week, a gentleman by the web de plume of “Sid Terror” went online with his incredible tale of raiding a lost cinema ark:

“Minutes later, I was staring at the film cans. In bold Magic Marker the words THE HYPNOTIST looked back at me from the hexagon-shaped shipping containers. I was sweating…this was epic…but I had to be sure. I slipped away the tag clasp and opened the container, smelling the light scent a true film fanatic dreams about. NITRATE. I donned my white cotton gloves and pulled the first reel from the container. First making sure the film was not too brittle, I unspooled the first ten to fifteen feet, carefully looping them by hand, then pulled a film magnifying loop (one of the tools of the trade) from my vest pocket. I looked through the eyepiece and looking back at me was the title card…

“Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents…
A Tod Browning production of…
LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT…
Starring Lon Chaney.”

“I gasped aloud. “Oh…my…God.”

Sid Terror claims this print now resides in the UCLA archives. Lon Chaney fanatic Harry Knowles has been all over this story and the word is out in the industry. I bet Rob Zombie and other monster geeks will help make it happen too. It shouldn’t be long before we find out whether or not we’re about to be gifted with another long lost movie treasure…

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11 Responses to “Lost…and Found: London After Midnight?”

  1. Terrific!

    As both a Browning and Chaney completist, I would looove to see this.

  2. christian Says:

    There’s some skepticism to this guy’s claim, but he seems to know his shit. I’m not sure why he’d wait so long to really scream about this. He shoulda at least told Forry Ackerman about it. Forry has seen LAM and doesn’t think horror fans should think it’s a masterpiece. It would still be amazing to see Chaney n that still creepy make-up…

  3. That would be fantastic. Thanks for passing this along. It aches how many silent films are gone forever.

  4. christian Says:

    And even modern films are in danger. Think of the amazing alternate footage wasting in reels. Every studio should have an archivist. It’s in fact money for them since they can be released to fanfare…

  5. Scorsese has been singing that song for a while, but there’s no foresight in the studios. The shareholders only care about the quarterly bottom line. Fuckos.

  6. christian Says:

    Of course, what these visionless biz folks don’t get is that there’s money to be made with their archives. Why haven’t the most powerful filmmakers in town gotten together to preserve this shit?

  7. Too busy snorting coke off of the asses of hookers trying to relive their 70s glory days.

  8. I know I would too.
    But then, even some of the 70’s guys at least loved movies.

  9. This was the firdt Horror film I had seen as a child, I haven’t seen it since. I remember the chills that this movie gave me to this day…I would love to see it again.

  10. Paul D. Candelaria Says:

    So where is it? Even YouTube has a version pasted together from various pic and it looks awesome! This is REAL movie news, forget the bimbo of the day.

  11. [...] and models, resulting in a color test reel thought destroyed in the 1955 vault fire that burned up LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT. A few stills survive and the memory of a dude named Harryhausen, who was present when the test was [...]

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