A Star is Born (1954)
The film was originally previewed in its original 196 minute print. When released to the general public, 30 minutes were cut off and most of the footage still remains lost.
The first restored version was released in 1983. Ron Haver, who worked on finding the lost footage wrote, “I sat there for a couple of minutes, completely dejected; there was nothing to do but admit that everyone had been correct – the missing sequences were irretrievably lost. However, about 20 minutes of usable deleted footage, a complete, 181-minute monaural soundtrack, 154 minutes of stereo sound track (which was on the studio print), and the mint-condition Technicolor short version had been found.
It occurred to me that we could take the bits and pieces of film that we’d found in the stock-footage vaults, and, using the sound track and the editor’s script as a guide, put the shots back where they belonged. The several minutes where we had no visuals could be filled in using stills of the missing scenes. Stills have been used successfully before, notably in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Raging Bull, but never before in a restored film. Robert Swarthe, special effects genius and animator par excellence, told me it could be done, but it would be expensive – maybe $25,000. Lisze Bechtold Blyth, a prizewinning animator, agreed to take on the project, if we could get approval and money.”