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Missing Believed Lost

In 1992 the BFI initiated a search for some of the best lost British films. As part of this effort they published a book Missing Believed Lost which listed and described 92 of the most sought after films.

Since then, things have gone a bit quiet. A handful of the films have been unearthed but the BFI doesn't make a big fuss when this happens. Contrast this with the hoopla when the BBC find a missing episode of Dr Who - news items, press articles and a video release within six months.

The list of films is not available on the BFI site or, indeed, anywhere on the Internet. Until now that is. 

A Study in Scarlet (1914) dir: George Pearson. l.p.: James Bragington, Fred Paul

Ultus, the Man from the Dead (1916) dir: George Pearson l.p.: Aurele Sydney, J.L.V. Leigh (Found! - some extracts exist)

She (1916) dir: Will Barker, Horace Lisle Lucoque l.p.: Alice Delysia, Henry Victor

Milestones (1916) dir: Thomas Bentley l.p.: Isobel Elsom, Owen Nares

Love, Life and Laughter (1923) dir: George Pearson l.p.: Betty Balfour, Harry Jonas (Found! - by EYE in the Netherlands)

Lily of the Alley (1923) dir: Henry Edwards l.p.: Henry Edwards, Chrissie White

Reveille (1924) dir: George Pearson l.p.: Betty Balfour, Stewart Rome (This might be found since a clip from it was included in the Cinema Europe documentary series)

The Mountain Eagle (1926) a.k.a. Fear O' God, Der Bergadler dir: Alfred Hitchcock l.p.: Nita Naldi, Bernard Goetzke

The Constant Nymph (1928) dir: Adrian Brunel l.p.: Ivor Novello, Mabel Poulton (Found!)

What Next (1928) dir: Walter Forde l.p.: Walter Forde, Pauline Johnson

Lord Richard in the Pantry (1930) dir: Walter Forde l.p.: Richard Cooper, Dorothy Seacombe

The Last Hour (1930) dir: Walter Forde l.p.: Stewart Rome, Richard Cooper

Bed and Breakfast (1930) dir: Walter Forde l.p.: Richard Cooper, Jane Baxter (Found! - Negative donated to NFTVA by Rank)

The Ghost Train (1931) dir: Walter Forde l.p.: Jack Hulbert, Cicely Courtneidge, Ann Todd (5 reels of picture and 2 reels of sound track exist)

Two Crowded Hours (1931) dir: Michael Powell l.p.: John Longden, Jane Welsh

The Bells (1931) dir: Oscar M. Werndorff, Harcourt Templeman l.p.: Donald Calthrop, Jane Welsh

My Friend the King (1931) dir: Michael Powell l.p.: Jerry Verno, Robert Holmes

Stranglehold (1931) dir: Henry Edwards l.p.: Isobel Elsom, Garry Marsh, Derrick de Marney

The Rasp (1931) dir: Michael Powell l.p.: Claude Horton, Phyllis Loring

The Star Reporter (1931) dir: Michael Powell l.p.: Harold French, Isla Bevan, Garry Marsh

Condemned to Death (1931) dir: Walter Forde l.p.: Arthur Wontner, Edmund Gwenn, Gordon Harker (Found! - shorter version dubbed into French)

Help Yourself (1932) dir: John Y. Daumery l.p.: Benita Hume, Hay Petrie, Kenneth Kove

Lord Babs (1932) dir: Walter Forde l.p.: Bobby Howes, Alfred Drayton (Found!)

C.O.D. (1932) dir: Michael Powell l.p.: Garry Marsh, Roland Culver, Peter Gawthorne

His Lordship (1932) dir: Michael Powell l.p.: Jerry Verno (Found!)

Born Lucky (1932) dir: Michael Powell l.p.: René Ray, Talbot O'Farrell

On Thin Ice (1933) dir: Bernard Vorhaus l.p.: Ursula Jeans, Kenneth Law

Money for Speed (1933) a.k.a. Daredevils of the Earth dir: Bernard Vorhaus l.p.: Ida Lupino, John Loder, Moore Marriott (Found! - in a truncated print with German subtitles)

Her Imaginary Lover (1933) dir: George King l.p.: Laura La Plante, Percy Marmont, Lady Tree, Roland Culver

The Silver Spoon (1933) dir: George King l.p.: Ian Hunter, Garry Marsh, Binnie Barnes, Cecil Parker

High Finance (1933) dir: George King l.p.: Gibb McLaughlin, Ida Lupino

I Adore You (1933) dir: George King l.p.: Margot Graham, Harold French

The Girl in Possession (1934) dir: Monty Banks l.p.: Laura La Plante, Henry Kendall, Claude Hulbert

The Blue Squadron (1934) dir: George King l.p.: Esmond Knight, John Stuart, Cecil Parker

No Escape (1934) dir: Ralph Ince l.p.: Ian Hunter, Binnie Barnes

The Office Wife (1934) dir: George King l.p.: Nora Swinburne, Cecil Parker, Dorothy (Chili) Bouchier

Bella Donna (1934) dir: Robert Milton l.p.: Conrad Veidt, Mary Ellis (Found! - but with Czech subtitles)  

Father and Son (1934) dir: Monty Banks l.p.: Edmund Gwenn, Esmond Knight, Roland Culver

Blind Justice (1934) dir: Bernard Vorhaus l.p.: Eva Moore, John Mills, Roger Livesey

A Glimpse of Paradise (1934) dir: Ralph Ince l.p.: George Carney, Eve Lister, Wally Patch, Katie Johnson

What's in a name? (1934) dir: Ralph Ince l.p.: Carol Goodner, Barry Clifton

The Girl in the Crowd (1934) dir: Michael Powell l.p.: Barry Clifton, Googie Withers

Murder at Monte Carlo (1934) dir: Ralph Ince l.p.: Eve Gray, Errol Flynn

The Price of a Song (1935) dir: Michael Powell l.p.: Campbell Gullan, Marjorie Corbett

Mr What's-His-Name (1935) dir: Ralph Ince l.p.: Seymour Hicks, Enid Stamp-Taylor, Martita Hunt

Hello Sweetheart (1935) dir: Monty Banks l.p.: Claude Hulbert, Gregory Ratoff, Jane Carr

Someday (1935) dir: Michael Powell l.p.: Esmond Knight, Margaret Lockwood,

Get off My Foot (1935) dir: William Beaudine l.p.: Max Miller, Jane Carr, Chili Bouchier, Norma Varden

Black Mask (1935) dir: Ralph Ince l.p.: Ellis Irving, Wylie Watson

Dark World (1935) dir: Bernard Vorhaus l.p.: Tamara Desni, Hugh Brook, Olga Lindo, Googie Withers

The Brown Wallet (1936) dir: Michael Powell l.p.: Patric Knowles, Nancy O'Neil

Gaolbreak (1936) dir: Ralph Ince l.p.: Ralph Ince, Pat Fitzpatrick, Elliot Mason

The Man Behind the Mask (1936) dir: Michael Powell l.p.: Hugh Williams, Jane Baxter (Found! - and available on NTSC video from Forgotten Hollywood in the U.S.)

Faithful (1936) dir: Paul L. Stein l.p.: Jean Muir, Gene Gerrard, Chili Bouchier

Twelve Good Men (1936) dir: Ralph Ince l.p.: Henry Kendall, Nancy O'Neil, Bernard Miles

Where's Sally (1936) dir: Arthur Woods l.p.: Gene Gerrard, Claude Hulbert, Chili Bouchier

Fair Exchange (1936) dir: Ralph Ince l.p.: Patric Knowles, Roscoe Ates

Gypsy Melody (1936) dir: Edmond T. Greville l.p.: Lupe Velez, Alfred Rode, Jerry Verno (Found! - with about 5 minutes missing)

Educated Evans (1936) dir: William Beaudine l.p.: Max Miller, Nancy O'Neil

Hail and Farewell (1936) dir: Ralph Ince l.p.: Claude Hulbert, Reginald Purdell

Irish for Luck (1936) dir: Arthur Woods l.p.: Athene Seyler, Margaret Lockwood, Patric Knowles, Gibb McLaughlin

Gypsy (1936) dir: Roy William Neill l.p.: Roland Young, Chili Bouchier, Hugh Williams (Found! - 250ft fragment)

Secret Lives (1937) dir: Edmond T. Greville l.p.: Brigitte Horney, Neil Hamilton (Found! - in a truncated print under the US title I Married a Spy)

The Vulture (1937) dir: Ralph Ince l.p.: Claude Hulbert, Lesley Brook

Mayfair Melody (1937) dir: Arthur Woods l.p.: Keith Falkner, Joyce Kirby, Chili Bouchier

Side Street Angel (1937) dir: Ralph Ince l.p.: Hugh Williams, Lesley Brook, Henry Kendall, Reginald Purdell

It's Not Cricket (1937) dir: Ralph Ince l.p.: Claude Hulbert, Henry Kendall

The Windmill (1937) dir: Arthur Woods l.p.: Hugh Williams, John Laurie

The Compulsory Wife (1937) dir: Arthur Woods l.p.: Henry Kendall, Joyce Kirby

Transatlantic Trouble (1937) a.k.a. Take It From Me  dir: William Beaudine l.p.: Max Miller, Betty Lynne

The Man Who Made Diamonds (1937) dir: Ralph Ince l.p.: Noel Madison, Lesley Brook, Renee Gadd

You Live and Learn (1937) dir: Arthur Woods l.p.: Glenda Farrell, Claude Hulbert

Who Killed John Savage (1937) dir: Maurice Elvey l.p.: Nicholas Hannen, Barry Mackay, Edward Chapman

The Dark Stairway (1938) dir: Arthur Woods l.p.: Hugh Williams, Chili Bouchier, Garry Marsh

The Singing Cop (1938) dir: Arthur Woods l.p.: Keith Falkner, Marta Labarr, Chili Bouchier, Ivy St. Helier

Quiet, Please (1938) dir: Roy William Neill l.p.: Reginald Purdell, Lesley Brook, Julien Mitchell, Wally Patch

Simply Terrific (1938) dir: Roy William Neill l.p.: Claude Hulbert, Reginald Purdell, Patricia Medina

The Viper (1938) dir: Roy William Neill l.p.: Claude Hulbert, Betty Lynne

Thank Evans (1938) dir: Roy William Neill l.p.: Max Miller, Hal Walters, Polly Ward (Found! - 100ft fragment)

Double or Quits (1938) dir: Roy William Neill l.p.: Frank Fox, Patricia Medina

Thistledown (1938) dir: Arthur Woods l.p.: Aino Bergo, Keith Falkner, Athole Stewart

Dangerous Medicine (1938) dir: Arthur Woods l.p.: Elizabeth Allen, Cyril Ritchard

What a Man! (1939) dir: Edmond T. Greville l.p.: Sydney Howard, Vera Pearce, H.F. Maltby

A Gentleman's Gentleman (1939) dir: Roy William Neill l.p.: Eric Blore, Marie Lohr, David Hutcheson

The Good Old Days (1939) dir: Roy William Neill l.p.: Max Miller, H.F. Maltby, Martita Hunt

Dr O'Dowd (1939) dir: Herbert Mason l.p.: Shaun Glenville, Peggy Cummins, Patricia Roc

Confidential Lady (1939) dir: Arthur Woods l.p.: Ben Lyon, Jane Baxter, Athole Stewart, Jean Cadell

His Brother's Keeper (1939) dir: Roy William Neill l.p.: Clifford Evans, Tamara Desni, Una O'Connor, Reginald Purdell

Murder Will Out (1939) dir: Roy William Neill l.p.: John Loder, Jane Baxter, Jack Hawkins, William Hartnell

The Night Invader (1943) dir: Herbert Mason l.p.: Anne Crawford, David Farrar, Marius Goring

The Hundred Pound Window (1943) dir: Brian Desmond Hurst l.p.: Anne Crawford, David Farrar, Frederick Lister, Mary Clare, Richard Attenborough, Niall MacGinnis, David Hutcheson (Found! - 16 mm print)

Flight From Folly (1945) dir: Herbert Mason l.p.: Pat Kirkwood, Hugh Sinclair, Sydney Howard, Tamara Desni,

None of these films (with the possible exception of The Ghost Train) are regarded as classics, yet it's only a few years since A Matter of Life and Death or Went the Day Well? were regarded as ephemeral dross. Michael Powell, Ralph Ince and Walter Forde are well represented in this list, as are performers Claude Hulbert, Chili Bouchier and the best films of Max Miller.

I've only given credits for the directors and a few of the more familiar players. If you want further details of these films then do buy the excellent book by Allen Eyles and David Meeker (ISBN 0-85170-306-2). If you know anything about the whereabouts of these films then please contact me and I'll try to take it further.

Also Believed Missing

Here are some more that site visitors think are either missing or "held hostage". Got any info on them? If you have let me know.

By the Shortest of Heads (1915) dir: Bert Haldane l.p.: George Formby Jr., Jack Tessier, Moore Marriott (Formby's first film made when he was a young jockey. One print might exist in private hands.)

Comradeship (1919) dir: Maurice Elvey l.p.: Lily Elsie, Gerald Ames (Copy held at the BFI)

Mademoiselle from Armentieres/Mademoiselle d'Armentièrs (1926) dir: Maurice Elvey l.p. Estelle Brody, John Stuart, Alf Goddard (Only the last quarter is known to have survived)

On Approval (1930) dir: Tom Walls l.p.: Tom Walls, Yvonne Arnaud, Robertson Hare

Tell England (1931) a.k.a. The Battle of Gallipoli dir: Anthony Asquith l.p.: Fay Compton, Tony Bruce (This does exist and was recently shown at the Imperial War Museum and is viewable at the bfi Mediatheque)

The W Plan (1930) dir: Victor Saville l.p.: Brian Aherne, Madeleine Carroll (Viewable at the bfi Mediatheque)

Tons of Money (1930) dir. Tom Walls l.p.: Ralph Lynn, Yvonne Arnaud, Robertson Hare

Men of Tomorrow (1932) dir: Leontine Sagan, Zoltan Korda l.p.: Joan Gardner, Emlyn Williams, Robert Donat

Where is This Lady? (1932) dir: Laszlo Vajda, Victor Hanbury l.p. Owen Nares, Wendy Barrie (Scenario by Billy Wilder)

That Night in London (1932) (aka Overnight) dir: Rowland V Lee l.p.: Robert Donat, Pearl Argyle, Miles Mander

Summer Lightning (1933)  dir: Maclean Rogers l.p.: Ralph Lynn, Winifred Shotter, Dorothy Bouchier

The Little Damozel (1933) dir: Herbert Wilcox l.p.: Anna Neagle, James Rennie, Benita Hume

This Week of Grace (1933) dir: Maurice Elvey l.p.: Gracie Fields, Henry Kendall, John Stuart (Found! - Print now held in the NFTVA)

Radio Parade (1933) dir: Archie de Bear l.p.: Florence Desmond, Claude Hulbert, Elsie and Doris Waters. (Found! - reel 1 is missing but you can download the rest from

Cash (1933) (aka For Love or Money) dir: Zoltan Korda l.p.: Edmund Gwenn, Robert Donat, Wendy Barrie (Available in the US on DVD under the title If I Were Rich)

Waltz Time (1933) dir: William Thiele l.p.: Evelyn Laye, Gina Malo (the bfi only have the first reel and the soundtrack)

Cock O' The North (1935) dir: Oswald Mitchell l.p. George Carney, Marie Lohr, Ronnie Hepworth

All at Sea (1935) dir: Anthony Kimmins l.p. Tyrell Davis, Rex Harrison, Googie Withers

Darby and Joan (1937) dir: Syd Courtney l.p.: Peggy Simpson, Ian Fleming, Tod Slaughter (A print was believed to be sold on eBay in 2018:

No Parking (1938) dir: Jack Raymond l.p.: Gordon Harker, Leslie Perrins, Irene Ware, Cyril Smith

Gert and Daisy Clean Up (1942) dir.: Maclean Rogers l.p.: Elsie and Doris Waters, Iris Vandeleur, Elizabeth Hunt, Joss Ambler, Tonie Edgar Bruce (Now regularly shown on Talking Pictures TV)

Up With the Lark (1943) dir.: Phil Brandon l.p.: Ethel Revnell, Gracie West, Anthony Hulme, Lesley Osmond, Ian Fleming (Found! and available on DVD)

Squadron Leader X (1943) dir: Lance Comfort l.p.: Eric Portman, Ann Dvorak

Lisbon Story (1946) dir: Paul L Stein l.p.: David Farrar, Patricia Burke, Richard Tauber (Found! - video copies are circulating, but they're missing the Pedro the Fisherman sequence which you can find separately on YouTube)

Mystery Junction (1951) dir: Michael McCarthy l.p.: Sydney Tafler, Barbara Murray, Pat Owens (Available on DVD from Network)

Tall Headlines (1952) dir: Terence Young l.p.: Flora Robson, André Morell, Dennis Price (Found!)

Noose for a Lady (1953) dir: Wolf Rilla l.p.: Dennis Price, Pamela Alan Rona Anderson (Available on DVD from Network)

Three Steps in the Dark (1953) dir: Daniel Birt l.p.: Hugh Sinclair, Greta Gynt, Sarah Lawson (Now available on DVD from Odeon Entertainment)

Don't Panic Chaps (1959) dir: George Pollock l.p.: George Cole, Dennis Price, Thorley Walters (Found!)

The Webster Boy (1961) dir: Don Chaffey l.p.: Richard O'Sullivan, John Cassavetes, David Farrar (Found! - 16mm print held in the Limerick Film Archive)

Watch it Sailor! (1961) dir: Wolf Rilla l.p.: Dennis Price, Marjorie Rhodes, Irene Handl, Liz Frazer (Believed to be held by Sony)

The Valiant (1962) dir: Roy Baker l.p.: John Mills, Robert Shaw (This has been seen on TV and the bfi have a print)

Mystery Submarine (1965) dir: C.M Pennington-Richards l.p.: Edward Judd, James Robertson Justice (Found!)

The Appointment (1981) dir.: Lindsey C. Vickers l.p.: Edward Woodward, Jane Merrow (Exists in VHS copies transferred to Youtube but the original film elements appear lost)


Adelphi Films

The production company has its own list of missing films:

Bless 'Em All (1948) dir: Robert Jordan Hill l.p.: Max Bygraves, Les Ritchie

The Nitwits on Parade (1949) dir: Robert Jordan Hill l.p.: Max Bygraves, Sid Millward, Wally Stewart

The Bait (1949) dir: Frankland A Richardson l.p.: Diana Napier, John Bentley, John Oxford, Patricia Owens (Copies are believed to be circulating)

The Tell Tale Heart (1953) dir: JB Williams l.p.: Stanley Baker (Found! and available on the BFIPlayer)

Also being hunted: some classics from Mancunian films. See here for details.


A big thanks to Sébastien Metens and others for updating this list.

Missing Believed Lost: get the book from Amazon