Frame capture from the 1924 film Three Days to Live showing a turbaned man next to a startled woman

Lost Frank Capra film, found and restored!


18 January 2017

Lost Frank Capra film, found, restored and back on the big screen, exclusively at Arc!


This February, the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) presents the world premiere of its digital restoration of the once-thought-lost Three Days to Live (1924), one of the earliest known titles to include the work of iconic filmmaker Frank Capra.


The screening will take place at Arc cinema on Sunday 5 February, offering  audiences a rare opportunity to see the film with a live piano accompaniment by Mauro Colombis.


The year-long restoration project secures an important piece of Australian and world cinema history.


‘From attempts to locate the film elsewhere it appears the NFSA holds the only identifiable copy of the film, so it is very unique,’ NFSA Film Curator Sally Jackson said.


Three Days to Live was first brought into Australia in 1925, with the earliest recorded screenings in Tasmania and South Australia at Port Pirie’s Alhambra Theatre.  It is the latest film to be released from the NFSA Restores initiative and is one of many ‘lost works’ discovered at the NFSA.


Sally Jackson explains: ‘In the early days of cinema there was little reason to keep films after their initial run in cinemas. There was no TV, no DVDs, no internet and therefore no potential for re-runs. If there was no way to generate more money, there was no reason to keep or store it.  The notion of film heritage was not a concern at this time.’


‘Sometimes this means that the only known copy of a film, particularly from the silent era, is found far from its country of origin, giving it a local and international context. Sadly the majority of the world's silent film heritage is gone; that's why it's important to preserve and make available what remains.’


Three Days to Live is a mystery set across San Francisco’s share market and ‘exotic’ India, where a shadowy investor is targeting fellow investors, forcing them into bankruptcy. Capra is credited as Titles and Editor.  It is also thought, according to biographer Jim McBride, that Capra was assistant director. 


This world premiere kicks off a month long retrospective on Frank Capra films at Arc Cinema. Full program available online.



Interviews available. For media tickets, giveaways and enquiries please contact NFSA Publicity Coordinator Jemma Pietrus ( 6248 2248) or National Media Manager  Miguel Gonzalez  (, 02 8202 0114).



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