Hammer appeals for lost film footage

Peter Cushing in The Curse of Frankenstein Hammer is particularly keen to recover a scene from The Curse of Frankenstein

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Hammer studios has issued a public appeal to track down lost scenes that were cut from its films by censors.

The film studio has identified nine missing scenes from six of its best-known films that it is hoping to find.

One of the most sought-after clips is a scene in 1957's The Curse of Frankenstein, where a severed head is apparently dropped into a vat of acid.

Hammer is also seeking missing scenes from films including The Mummy and Rasputin: The Mad Monk.

The company issued the public appeal after it became apparent it had failed to keep the excluded footage.

At the time, the censored scenes were deemed too gory or shocking for British audiences. However, uncut films often survive in film reels sent to other countries.

Private collections

MISSING FOOTAGE

  • The Reptile - an extended "knife in neck/snakebite" scene
  • The Curse of Frankenstein - the "eyeball" and "head in acid bath" scenes
  • The Mummy - "under-dressed maidens", "tongue-cutting" and/or the "tongue wriggling" scenes
  • Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell - extended "glass-in-throat" and "body falling into grave" scenes
  • Rasputin: The Mad Monk - extended fight scene
  • The Viking Queen - extended, more explicit version

While Hammer has evidence that the missing footage exists, some of it is only known about from still photographs taken during filming.

"We're fairly sure they exist in private collections, instead of official archives," Peter Naish, Hammer's senior vice-president of distribution, said.

"There's a network of Hammer fans and collectors who snap these things up, so we need to scour the whole world and appeal to the fans at large to see what we can come up with."

Mr Naish said Hammer was particularly keen to find the lost footage from Peter Cushing film, The Curse of Frankenstein, which features the "head in acid bath" scene.

"I think that one's iconic - that would be the one people would most want to see. But if we can find any others, that would be great," he added.

The film studio plans to restore all the cut versions as part of a wider restoration project.

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