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Turner Classic Movies' Lon Chaney tribute on August 15th will be haunted by classic creep shows including a special showing of the lost masterpiece, London After Midnight (1927), reconstructed entirely from stills. It will be the first time the film has been seen in more than 50 years in any format, as the last print known to exist was destroyed in a vault fire at MGM in the 1960s. Listed on the American Film Institute's Ten Most Wanted "Lost" Films, London After Midnight is referred to by proponents as the most famous of lost films.
Though no actual film footage is known to exist, award-winning filmmaker/archivist Rick Schmidlin (he worked on the restorations of Touch of Evil and Greed) has been able to faithfully reconstruct the entire narrative through an extensive collection of more than 200 still photographs and a complete continuity script. A new score by acclaimed composer Robert Israel will complete the presentation. In it, Lon Chaney showed off his talents as a make-up artist, creating what became the first real American vampire, complete with the elements that children today associate with the sinister creatures: eyes bulging in their sockets, menacing pointed teeth and a cape.
Producer: Irving Thalberg
Director: Tod Browning
Stills Restoration Director: Rick Schmidlin
Screenplay: Waldemar Young, Joseph Farnham, Tod Browning (based on the story "The Hypnotist")
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons, A. Arnold Gillespie
Cinematography: Merritt B. Gerstad
Editing: Harry Reynolds, Errol Taggart
Music for stills restoration: Robert Israel
Cast: Lon Chaney (Burke), Marceline Day (Lucille Balfor), Henry B. Walthall (Sir James Hamlin), Percy Williams (Butler), Conrad Nagel (Arthur Hibbs), Polly Moran (Miss Smithson).
BW-40m. Closed captioning.