The Lost Movies

Originally, I wasn’t going to say anything about these films, because the movies are lost and I can’t watch it. I felt that they should at least be written about, even if it’s only a small amount of information, because they were important. It was an important step to animation. Then I came across an article explaining about Cristiani and the lost movies. I thought it was an interesting read. So, I decided to give out some information about the movies from what I could find. Most of the information comes from Wikipedia and an article by Bendazzi. I’ll post the links on the bottom of the page.

A little clip on Christiani and animation.

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  • Quirino Cristiani was born in 1896 in Italy and died in 1984 in Argentina. He moved there in 1900 with his family.
  • He loved drawing and attended The Academy of Fine Arts for a small amount of time. He hung around newspaper offices, where editors were willing to publish his caricatures.
  • Federico Valley, another Italian, (some kind of pattern going on here?) came to Buenos Aires. One of the first, if not the first, to employ aerial cinematography. He became a producer, but loved working with newsreel.
  • “In 1916, in Buenos Aires, the newsreel “Actualidades Valle” had two-and-a-half minutes of animation entitled La intervención en la provincia de Buenos Aires. Its subject: the intervention by President Irigoyen against the governor of Buenos Aires, Marcelino Ugarte. Irigoyen charged him with dishonesty, and replaced him. Quirino Cristiani had drawn and animated the sequence using techniques he had learned from studying films by Émile Cohl that Valle had kept in his exchange. His studio could hardly be described as state-of-the-art, even then: he shot the film frame-by-frame on the terrace of a house in Buenos Aires, using the sun as his light source, with wind ready to ruin a shot at any moment. Starting with this first film, Cristiani used cardboard cutouts, a technique he later perfected and patented.” (Bendazzi)
  • Everyone loved this film, and together Federico and Cristiani raised money to create the first animated movie ever: El Apostle.

El Apostle:


  • Hipólito Irigoyen, won the presidential election in 1916. The film showed Irigoyen wanting to bring morality and end corruption in Buenos Aires. He ascends to heaven where Jupiter lends the president his thunderbolts. He then hurled fire at the city.
  • The movie premiered November 9, 1917 at the Select Theater. A review in the newspaper “Critica” said the movie was magnificent. Many papers praised the film.
  • The movie was 1 hour and 10 minutes long. It was composed of 58,000 drawings (yikes), which means 58,000 frames. All known copies of the movie were lost in a fire in Federico’s vault in 1926.

Without A Trace:


  • During, this time Europe was in war. South American countries decided to remain neutral. The Argentinians loved the German’s discipline and army, so most Argentinians wanted to fight with the Germans. Irigoyen did not, and remained neutral. Baron von Luxburg was angry about this, and ordered a German U-boat to torpedo an Argentine ship, making sure “to leave no trace.” The plan failed and there were survivors, who mentioned not seeing any French or British ships.
  • Christiani couldn’t wait to do a cartoon on it. In 1918, he made the second animated movie ever: Sin Dej ar Rastros (Without A Trace.) The press did not release a single word about the movie. For diplomatic reasons, the film was seized by the police and disappeared into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (Every time I hear that word, I think of Harry Potter; I never knew there were Ministries.)
  • He could not earn a living as a film maker, but that didn’t stop him from doing what he loved. He continued to make animated shorts.


A clip on making Peludopolis


  • In 1929, he started his third animated film. He finished the movie in 1931, and it premiered September 16. It was about Irigoyen.
  • A year before the film’s premiere, Irigoyen was overthrown by the military. The president kept making errors and his party members lost most of their credibility by being corrupt. This was a terrible thing for Cristiani. “His film satirized the corruption of the old president’s associates, showing the difficulties of keeping the “Argentine ship of state” afloat in an ocean filled with voracious sharks. Now there were no longer a president, and the sharks of the Radical Party were hidden in their dens. What to do?” (Bendazzi)
  • He showed the corruption of Irigoyen and his followers. He showed the generals who had taken power, and he showed a man (Juan Pueblos) who wanted respect and a good government.
  • The film didn’t do so well. The audience thought it was too serious. A year later, Irigoyen had died. Both the Argentinien people and Christiani had mixed emotions. So, he took the movie off circulation.
  • That was Christiani’s last animated film. Peludopolis was 80 min. long with sound. It was the first animated movie to have sound.
  • The critics were pleased with the movie. “: “this work is undoubtedly one of the most important of our national cinema … a tuneful, amusing and charming film.” (La Razon) “There are many reasons to be amused–the caricatures themselves, the songs, the comic ideas, the details.” (El Diario) “The images are too rigid, not smooth enough, but cartoonist Cristiani shows a singular talent for the difficult art of animation.” (La Nacion)” (Bendazzi)
  • The last one is a good read. It gives you tons of information about Christiani and other contributors of animation.

The Adventures of Pinocchio:

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  • The Movie was made in 1935 and is an Italian animated film.
  • Directed by Raoul Verdini and Umberto Spano. Created and produced by Cartoni Animati Italiani Roma (CAIR) and distributed by De Vecchi.
  • The movie was based on a children’s book called The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi. It would’ve been the first animated movie from Italy and the first animated film adaption based on the novel of the same name, but it was never finished. The movie is considered lost; only the original script and a couple of still frames are all that are left from the movie.
  • On January 1935, Alfredo Rocco decided to commission the first Italian animated movie. The studio faithfully adapted the movie from the book. After, buying the rights from the publisher, they began to work on the movie.
  • “To date, it is not clear who were the directors of the film. Some sources cite Umberto Spano and Raul Verdini, while others Romolo Bacchini and his son Carlo, who were also the photographers. The model sheet was made by Verdini and Barbara Mamelli, designers of the satirical newspaper Marc’Aurelio. Romolo Bacchini was also the producer and the artistic director with Verdini. The scenography was entrusted to Mario Pompeii with Franco Fiorenzi and Gioacchino Colizzi. The composer has sometimes been credited as Umberto Giordano.[3] Inking was done by Carlo Bacchini along with Ettore Ranalli, Ennio Zedda and Amerigo Tot.” (Wikipedia)
  • The planned amount of drawings per year was 110,000 with an estimated budget of 1 million. It was scheduled for distribution by De Vecchi in the fall of 1936. They had way to many technical problems, and the financing was wiped out. So, they discontinued it.
  • The film included 150,000 drawings and 2,500 feet of film. It was estimated to last 105 min. Raoul attempted to finish the movie in 1940, but he failed The film remained unfinished. Later, Walt Disney would buy the rights to the book for Pinocchio.
  • That is a small biography on Raoul. There is hardly any information on him.
  • The rest of the information I attained from Wikipedia.

After, reading the articles, I really want to see the movies. I think I’d like to see The Adventures of Pinocchio the most. Which movie would you guys want to see?

I have seen half of The Adventures of Prince Achmed before. It was something that I’ve never seen before or have ever again. I finished the research part (Not a lot of information on this movie). So, all I have to do is re-watch it, and write my review. Hopefully, I’ll like it better the second time.



6 thoughts on “The Lost Movies

  1. Oh, there is, but most of the information is in German. If you have any questions, ask me, I might be able to find something for you.

    Really interesting write-up. Too bad that there only pictures, I would have loved to see at least a little bit of the actual animation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh that makes sense. I was looked everywhere but I couldn’t really find anything.
      Have you read the 1001 Arabians Nights, at least the Acmed part. If so, how alike is it to the original?
      Thank you. Me too. I looked for videos and images everywhere but these were the only images I could find. The video for peludo city showed a small part of it. Not a lot though. You’d have to click the link though, I couldn’t figure out how to show the video without the link.
      The first and third one were burnt in a fire, so we’ll never know what those two are like. The second one was locked away, but that was years ago. I don’t see why they can’t show it now. And the pinocchio one is lost, but some of the information it said was still avaible. So I wonder why nothing really comes up.


      1. It’s not a one-to-one rendition. It mostly takes different elements of a few stories and mixes them up.
        I can also tell you that the movie was made from 1923 to 1926 by Lotte Reiniger, Walter Ruttmann, Berthold Bartosh, Alexander Kardan and Carl Koch (her husband), and financed by the Jewish Banker Louis Hagen. The Composer was Wolfgang Zeller. It was put together again 1999 by the Deutsches Filmmuseum (which also managed to restoring the colouring, which was considered lost for a long time and added the title cards – hopefully you have a coloured version). The movie consists of 96.000 pictures. Each second consist of 24 pictures (which was a lot back then, I think when I saw it they said double of what was usual). Lotte Reiniger made all the main work (she was a master with scissors). She also devised the first version of the multi-plane camera, long before Disney “invented” it for Snow White, and used it for certain effects. There is also a book to the movie back then (Lotte Reiniger had a lot of contacts within the German creative scenes, which included publishers, artists, and naturally film makers. You know, Bertolt Brecht, Fritz Lang, Hans Sahl aso). Since she had a lot of Jewish friends and was politically active for the left, she and her husband fled 1935, but since no country gave them a permit to stay permanently, they were forced to travel the world during the following years (working on a lot of animated shorts wherever they were). 1943 they were forced to stay in Berlin, and survived the war there. Ironically she was allowed to immigrate to London in 1949. She kept working (there are a lot of short pieces by her, mostly fairy tales) and eventually got Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.
        I can’t emphasis enough what an unusual woman she was back then.

        Liked by 1 person

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