There is always hope for film historians and movie buffs that a lost work will be found. With last year's discovery of part of The White Shadow, an early feature involving the talents of Alfred Hitchcock, it made room for optimism that some of his other missing treasures could be located. One such highly sought after film is his second feature, The Mountain Eagle, which is a silent picture involving a love quadrangle between a man, his cripped son, a schoolteacher and a hermit. It was also a highlighted film being officially hunted for by the British Film Institute, which is reportedly convinced there's a copy out there somewhere.
Until recently, the best known evidence of its existence was a lobby card and some stills in the book Hitchcock/Truffaut, in which Hitch also told Truffaut the film was awful and that he wasn't sorry it hasn't survived. Reviews at the time, however, seem to have been positive, with the first remarks of the filmmaker's brilliance believed to have been mentioned with this release. And regardless of what he thought of his own work, many of his fans are still curious to see more of it anyway.
Now there is indeed additional evidence in the form of oversize still photos, which were previously unknown items in the filmmaker's personal archives. These images will be up for auction next month as part of a collection of 59 oversize photos, some of which are for Hitchcock's The Maxman. They're described as being not for marketing purposes but custom-printed exclusively for the filmmaker's keeping. It's unclear how many of these are from the lost film (two can be seen above) or how many stills are in a set, each of which are said to be anticipating bids in excess of $10,000.
The event, called "Drama, Action Romance - The Hollywood Auction," will be held December 15 and 16 in Los Angeles.
Here are some of those previously seen stills from The Mountain Eagle: