The Frisian Film Archive said on Friday it had discovered rare missing fragments from Stan Laurel’s 1924 film ‘Detained’.
The missing scene was found when archivist Jurjen Enzing was stocktaking old nitrate films for a large digitisation project. Recognising Laurel on the film, which was in very poor condition, Enzing decided to investigate.
After searching the Internet he discovered that it was a solo film by the British star of silent film. He found a description of the scene – in which Laurel escapes being hanged – in a book written by Laurel and Hardy experts, Ted Okuda and James Neibaur. The experts said the sequence had apparently been lost.
‘It was quite a moment,’ the archive said in a statement.
The film came to the archive via the Van Kampen family from Leeuwarden. It was part of a collection of old films bought by Hendrik van Kampen for 100 guilders shortly after the war which he planned to either show or rent out.
The old nitrate films among the collection ended up in the cellar of his shop, which closed in the 1970s. The films were in 2007 donated to the archive.
The find was made last year but has only just been made public after a restored version was put together with the help of Paris-based Lobster Film.
View the complete, newly restored and digitised version of Detained, including the missing ‘hanging scene’. You can also see the film on the big screen at the archive this weekend.