Recognizing the importance of film preservation is a relatively recent phenomenon in Hollywood. Early motion picture film was especially prone to destruction by fire thanks to its nitrate base. And early films that haven't yet been destroyed by fire can deteriorate in any number of other ways. In fact, it's estimated that over 90 percent of all movies made before 1929 are probably lost forever.
From The Film Foundation, a preservation organization:
Half of all American films made before 1950 and over 90% of films made before 1929 are lost forever. The Film Foundation supports "hands-on" preservation and restoration to ensure that these films - these works of art, historical records, and essential representations of our culture - will survive for future generations.
Below we have a collection of movie posters from Hollywood's lost Golden Age.
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Image: French actress Renee Adoree and MGM cameraman John Arnold circa 1925 via Getty Images