Missing fragments of a film by one of Cumbria’s most famous sons that were thought to have been lost have been discovered in the Netherlands.
The Frisian Film Archive recently discovered sequences of Stan Laurel in its Dutch copy of his 1924 solo movie Detained .
The discovery, which has only been made public, has emerged as Leeuwarden begins its year as the European capital of culture.
In it a scene with special effects has been discovered which is missing in other surviving copies.
This scene came to light during the stocktaking of old nitrate films for a large digitisation project which the film archive is involved in.
Jurjen Enzing, an employee at the Frisian Film Archive, recognised the famous actor Stan Laurel while stocktaking nitrate film material.
After searching the internet he discovered that it was a solo film by Stan Laurel.
In the book written by Laurel and Hardy experts, Ted Okuda and James L. Neibaur, entitled ‘Stan Without Ollie: The Stan Laurel Solo Films, 1917 – 1927‘ , Enzing then read that it had to be the film Detained which dates from 1924.
The missing scene was described in that same book. Neibaur and Okuda stated that it had apparently been lost. However, Enzing realised that he had discovered the missing scene in the copy at the Frisian Film Archive.
The film has been newly restored and digitised and it can be viewed complete with the missing sequences.
In a scene, which was thought to be lost, Stan Laurel plays a prisoner who ends up on the gallows.
The archive states that the scene was likely to have been cut from the film to suit the home movie market, like many in the 1930s.
It is now thought that the film archive group has the world’s only existing copy of the movie which has the “missing” scene included.
Following the discovery the Frisian Film Archive had it verified by Paris-based commercial film archive Lobster Film.
A specialist in restoration and digitisation, Lobster Filme is also famous for its collection of Laurel & Hardy films and has confirmed the value of the discovery.
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The nitrate copy of Detained ended up in the Frisian Film Archive in 2007 after it was donated by an amatuer historian.
It was originally thought to have been among a batch of 100 films stored in the cellar of a former photography shop.
Stan Laurel was born Arthur Stanley Jefferson in Ulverston, which was then in Lancashire but now lies in Cumbria, in June 1890.
He was the second of five children of theatre owner Arthur Jefferson and actress Margaret Jefferson.
He lived in the town until he was around six years old.
Stan met Oliver Hardy in around 1920, going on to work with him until 1950 making over 100 films.
Here is the complete and restored version of Detained , from the Frisian Film Archive.