Lost 100-Year-Old Movie Discovered In Parking Lot

By TeeJay Small | Published

In the internet age, lost media has become something of a treasure since nearly everything is now backed up on hard drives and archives across the net. Apparently, a 100-year-old lost movie was recently discovered in Omaha, Nebraska, which has silent film fans in a frenzy. The film features iconic 1920s screen performer Clara Bow in the leading role, reinvigorating interest in the late actress’ career.

A Parking Lot Auction

According to an exclusive report from 6 News WOWT Nebraska, the lost movie was discovered by pure chance at a parking lot auction after a long-defunct film distribution company headquartered in Omaha officially shuttered its doors. A Kansas City film buff named Gary Huggins attended the auction and purchased a stack of old film stock in an ‘everything must go’ sale in hopes of finding a few century-old cartoon reels. What Huggins found instead turned out to be much more valuable, as the lost Clara Bow movie was buried within the stack.

The Pill Pounder

The lost movie was originally pressed for distribution in 1923 and held the title The Pill Pounder. It was a silent film touted a leading performance from late 1920s bombshell Clara Bow, who functioned as one of the first progressive women in cinema history. Almost no information can be found about the film online, as it was initially produced by a small indie film studio in New York, and the distributor folded shortly after the final cut of the movie was completed in the editing bay.

Few Original Films Survive 100 Years

In addition to finding the lost movie, it’s a miracle that the old reel is still intact, as many movies shot before the 1950s were printed onto film stock containing nitrate. This makes the films highly flammable, combustible, and constantly in danger of degradation. This is especially highlighted in modern pop culture in the 2009 Quentin Tarantino film Inglourious Basterds, in which nitrate film stock is ignited in a scheme to burn down a building full of high-ranking nazi soldiers.

A Lucky Twist Of Fate

In the case of the Clara Bow silent feature, the film stock is in excellent shape, prompting Gary Huggins to pass the material on to film preservationist David Stenn. Stenn was elated to get a chance to recover the lost movie, as he literally wrote the book on Clara Bow with a work titled Clara Bow: Runnin’ Wild published in 1988. Apparently Huggins’ discovery was master copy of The Pill Pounder which was pressed on safety stock, preventing it from crumbling over the course of the last hundred years.

A Piece Of Movie History

Thanks to Huggins purchasing the stack of footage for only $20 and Stenn’s work preserving the new discovery, the lost movie will be shown on the big screen for the very first time next month at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. The Pill Pounder is said to be one of Clara Bow’s earliest works, with historians still on the hunt for a rumored expanded edition that contains an extra ten minutes or so of additional footage. The discovery of the film will surely go down in cinema history as one of the greatest rare finds of all time.

Source: WOWT