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75% of all the movies made before 1950 have turned to dust. Films made before 1930 are "lost" at an even higher rate. Many of these old two-reelers were crude; many of the great D.W. Griffith's early Biograph movies are almost unwatchable. Yet a handful of these early efforts are remarkable, magical; sought out by collectors, historians, and movie lovers...of all ages...Professor John Soister and his gang have produced(2010) "American Silent Horror, Science Fiction, and Fantasy, 1913-1929", a two-volume masterpiece, looking at the good, the bad, and the forgotten. Hurrah. Hurrah. Some of these old silent horrors are exceptional(and, amazingly, can still be found today). Among the over 250 listings is the 1919 classic, "The Miracle Man", which transformed Lon Chaney from a character actor into a star. "The Frog", a hopeless cripple, is cured by a humble preacher before the eyes of a young boy...who starts to cry. "The Miracle Man" is lost, but promoters wanted it remembered, and a 2 minute, 35 second remnant can be seen on YouTube(the famous scene). The remnant is also on "TCM Archives-Lon Chaney Collection", as a DVD extra. Promoters wanted to rifle old movies for shorts, and so we have 1 minute and a half of Helen Twelvetrees being mauled by a beast from "The Cat Creeps", a 1930 re-make of "Cat and the Canary". It is part of the 1930's short called "Boo!". The book reviews some films of Danish director Benjamin Christensen, famous for camerawork and art direction. His 1923 "Saxan/The Witches" was banned for years. At the end of the silent era, Christensen shot three horror/comedies for First National, titled "The Haunted House(1928)", "House of Horror(1929)", and one more, all featuring Thelma Todd and Chester Conklin. His third feature, "Seven Footprints to Satan(1929)", is the story of Jim, a wealthy young explorer, who with his girlfriend, Eve, plan a three-year trip to Africa. One night, Jim and Eve enter a fancy downtown cab when the cab's break-away rear door opens, somehow hurtling the pair down a corridor, and into a dark mansion, ruled by a black-hooded leader called Satan. Jim and Eve wander the haunted house, meeting a dwarf, a cripple, a sexy witch, and a gorilla. Wall panels slide away to reveal secret rooms, with men and women in some kind of medieval ritual. An Asian woman is glimpsed; her feet bound by a gorilla; her wrists tied behind her. Variety called it "hot. No picture for kids". All three of Christensen's films were lost until the 1960's, when a European TV station broadcast "Seven Footprints to Satan" with Italian subtitles. Dark and choppy, you can buy the VHS tape on the Internet. Another entry is genius German director Paul Leni's "The Last Warning(Universal)". Leni died suddenly, and young(age 44), or he surely would have directed Bela Lugosi, about a year later, in "Dracula". "The Last Warning" is the story of a playwright who re-opens a Broadway theater with the same play("Dangerous Currents") and cast from five years before. But someone(or something) menaces the cast, as trapdoors and scenery collapse, and as a notes warn: "Do not open!" A tinted, color psychedelic opening montage heralds miniature downtown sets, and a theater-front window that transforms into eyes, and a mocking face. Part-talkie, "The Last Warning(1929)" had dialogue, and the rare, surviving DVD film has a muted soundtrack, with crowd noises and sound effects. The history of American film is a long, rich canon; some titles are classics. They owe a nod to the brave, revolutionary artists who started it all. 100 years ago, in a dark, old theater, a man played the organ. Another gentleman ran a noisy projector, and someone watched lights and shadows on the wall....