Lost and Found: The True Hollywood Story of Silver Screen Cinema Pictures International Movie Review

On October 27th, 1995, a film was shown on television all over New Zealand called Forgotten Silver. This documentary was made by Peter Jackson and Costa Botes and told the story about a New Zealander who was the actual creator of many things that Hollywood uses today. He shot the first color film. He shot the first “talkie” film. There were a lot of things that Colin McKenzie did in his lifetime.

Throughout the doc, we are given another story, that of Peter Jackson and his quest to find the sets of the film that McKenzie was making when he died, Salome. Also throughout the film, there are interviews with real historians and real Hollywood players like Leonard Maltin, Sam Neill, and Harvey Weinstein, who released Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures. All of these interviews lend credence that what we are seeing is real.

It was not real. Jackson and his team had made this doc to see if they could fool New Zealanders into believing that Colin McKenzie, again a New Zealander, had achieved all that he did with film years before Hollywood would. New Zealanders across the country were calling their local television stations to tell their own Colin McKenzie stories. People thought that this doc was the real deal and were so happy that someone from New Zealand had made their mark on Hollywood so early in Hollywood’s existence.

Jackson and his team were able to fool an entire country by playing the entire thing straight. Even when watched today, it is easy to see how so many people were fooled. Jackson and Botes used green screens, CGI, matte paintings, and other modern techniques to make this film as believable as possible. Not one of the interviews gives away that this is a fake documentary and even the films within the film look like they were actually shot in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s. I have even showed this doc to friends and most of them have been fooled by it.

The art of making something look real when it isn’t has taken a nosedive in recent years. For every C.S.A: Confederate States of America, we get Winner Tapes All- a piss poor look at a filmmaker who shot some of the most notorious shot-on-video movies of the 80’s. For every This is Spinal Tap, we get the film I am reviewing today: Lost & Found: The True Hollywood Story of Silver Screen Cinema Pictures International.

Lost & Found popped up on Amazon Prime the other day and I thought that it was a real documentary about a company that I have never heard of before. There are many film companies that have existed (and some that still do) that I have never heard of before. Before I watched The Dead Next Door, I had never heard of Tempe Video. I had never heard of Don Dohler before I watched The Alien Factor and I am now trying to find all of his films.

Anyways, I wanted to watch Lost & Found because I wanted to find something that I had never heard of before. Ever since I created this site, I have seen a lot of films that I had never seen, or heard of, before. Some of them were complete trash, but a good portion of them were good to great films. From the description, this film sounded legit. Hell, they even got some real film critics and filmmakers to chime in on the film company.
Then the interviews started.

Right off the bat, I knew something was wrong with this doc. While many of the film critics sounded authentic, there are others interviewed who sound like they are reading off of a script (which they are). This made their “stories” sound incredibly fake and rehearsed. I kind of looked past this because there are some people who are just not that great on camera. Maybe the person is camera shy or had a bad experience in front of a camera, I thought.

As I watched the film, it started to become even more apparent that this was a fake doc. One thing that real documentaries don’t do (or don’t do that often) is bad mouth someone. Bad mouthing someone while trying to tell both sides of a story is a huge mistake and could put that filmmaker in hot water for not being neutral. This doc, however, talks shit about an editor within the first ten minutes. The filmmakers haven’t even laid the groundwork for this company yet and they are already saying that an editor was shit.

I gave the film another benefit of the doubt. Maybe this is the filmmaker's first film and they don’t know the ropes yet. I have seen quite a few documentaries that would have been better if the filmmaker had a few other films under their belts and knew their way around a camera. Hell, there are filmmakers in Hollywood, who are given huge budgets, having never directed a film in their lives. Ok, maybe these filmmakers happened into something and wanted to be the first to document it before everyone else was making their own doc about it. Cool.

Then the “trailers” started.

The film centers around eleven trailers, that were thought to be lost in a fire. The trailers were found in a storage unit and were being shown in this documentary. “There have been crazier things”, I thought. Once the trailers begin, all credibility was gone and I knew this film was fake. That didn’t bother me. I have no problem being duped into believing that a film or a person is real, only to have the rug snatched out from under me. There is some fun to be had with that. I thought that Forgotten Silver was real until I watched the making of on the dvd. I didn’t feel bad for having been duped. I felt excited that someone had made some so convincing that I thought it was completely real.

I did not have that feeling with Lost & Found.

The trailers were clearly shot on high definition digital video as they look nothing like how real film would actually look. Also, the actors and the way they speak is too modern to be from the 60’s. The way the characters dressed didn’t yell out 60’s to me either. Then there was the in your face “humor”. Bad films get most of their humor from the failings of the filmmakers, not because saying the word “acid” and holding up a big baggie that has the word “acid” written in big letters on it is funny. It isn’t funny.

Filmmakers who make successful faux documentaries are trying to make you believe in the subject matter. Sure, This is Spinal Tap is funny, but the band is very much a real thing. The actors can play the instruments and have actually gone on tour after the film became a sensation. The filmmakers here couldn’t make a good film if they tried. They have tried to make eleven trailers and have failed with each one. The documentary isn’t even that well made.

I could overlook many of these failings if the film was actually funny, but it isn’t. The film is a one-joke film and that joke isn’t funny in the least. The film’s run time is 86 minutes and those were some of the worst minutes I have spent so far this year. I am not going to say that “those are minutes I will never get back” because I was going to use those minutes anyways. I just used them on one of the worst films I have seen in some time. Had these filmmakers put some real effort into the film, it might have been a good experience. They didn’t and we are left with a film that is dead on arrival.