It is eighty years to the day since the great German director F.W. Murnau died from injuries sustained in a car crash at the age of 42, a week before the premiere of his final film, Tabu. As a small tribute, my Picture of the Week is a set of images related to Four Devils, his tale of a troupe of orphaned trapeze artists, which has the dubious honour of being one of the most famous lost films of all time. Premiered in 1928 (with a sound version released the following year), the film re-teamed Murnau with his Sunrise star Janet Gaynor (the first ever winner of the Academy Award for Best Actress, who was herself near-fatally injured in a car crash in 1982), but has not been seen since (allegedly), her co-star Mary Duncan lost the only print, which she had borrowed from Fox Studios.
Perhaps the closest you can get to seeing Four Devils is Janet Bergstrom’s excellent documentary Traces of Lost Film, which re-tells the story using the fragments it left behind in publicity photographs and design sketches: