Long-Lost Silent Film Found In Disused Cinema
A long-lost British film, starring the biggest female star of the silent period, has been found in a disused cinema.
George Pearson directed British actress Betty Balfour in 1923's Love, Life And Laughter which turned up in a small Dutch town.
The film was included in the British Film Institute's (BFI) most wanted list of lost movies and only one other film by Pearson survives in its entirety.
The print of the film was discovered by experts at EYE, the Dutch film museum, after old film cans were found in the cinema building in the town of Hattem which was due to be redeveloped.
Bryony Dixon, silent film curator at the BFI archive, said it was a "major discovery".
"It is also a rare survival of the work of George Pearson, one of Britain's most talented directors of this time whose First World War drama Reveille is another film on the BFI's most wanted list.
"Contemporary reviewers and audiences considered Love, Life And Laughter to be one of the finest creations of British cinema, it will be thrilling to find out if they're right.
"We hope to be able to acquire some material from our colleagues at EYE soon so that British audiences can have a chance to see this exciting discovery."
Balfour, who died in 1978, plays a chorus girl called Tip-Toes in the film who dreams of becoming a music hall star.
She made her name playing a comic character called Squibs in a popular series of films, also directed by Pearson, which were huge hits in Holland as well as the UK.
Many films from the silent era are lost because often studios could see no commercial value in keeping them.
They were also susceptible to fire because the nitrate film used for negatives and prints was highly flammable.