Mary Pickford’s movies survive because she owned them, and donated them to the Library of Congress in 1946.
Seventy percent of America’s silent films are lost and most of the remaining ones are in great shape, according to a study conducted by the Library of Congress. Only about 3,300 of the 11,000 films made before “talkies” are left. Of those, 17 percent are incomplete, and some, like the only missing Greta Garbo feature, The Divine Woman, are down to a single remaining reel. What happened?