WASHINGTON - A new study says the vast majority of American feature-length silent films have been lost due to decay and neglect over the past 100 years, allowing an original 20th century art form to all but disappear.
The Library of Congress is releasing the first comprehensive survey of silent films Wednesday. It found 70 percent of the films are believed to be lost. Of the nearly 11,000 silent feature films made in America between 1912 and 1930, the survey found only 14 percent still exist in their original format.
Notable films now considered lost include "Cleopatra" from 1917, "The Great Gatsby" from 1926, Lon Chaney's "London After Midnight" from 1927 and "The Patriot" from 1928.
Preservationists are looking to foreign archives and private collections to identify any other remaining films.