Archivist finds a lost film from… 1980?

In the last few years, film historians and collectors have found prints of famous lost films, including the earliest surviving Hitchcock and an extra-length version of Metropolis. These early silent films almost carry an expectation that they’ll be missing or damaged in some form. You would never expect to lost a film made in, say, the 1980s.

As it turns out, that’s precisely what happened. The short fantasy film Black Angel was released in 1980 as a pre-movie featurette for some versions of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. For whatever reason, nobody saved a print of it (not even the director), and the movie vanished.

A few weeks ago, director Roger Christian announced that he had located a copy of the film courtesy of an archivist at Universal Studios. This was not the first time that the film surfaced, but this newest version appears to be in the best quality.

Christian plans to release the film again, possibly digitally. Look for Black Angel to come up again in the next few years, especially as Disney prepares to re-release The Empire Strikes Back.

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