Suppose that a movie was made in 1930. Would the unedited film of that movie still exist somewhere and can be retrieved?
Thanks to Tetsujin for the link
Almost certainly not.
The vast majority of pre-1930 film stock has been lost either due to destruction or simply that the nitrate film stock used at the time is was not suitable for long term storage.
To understand how the movie studios and archives got into this predicament, it helps to know a little about what came before LTO. Up until the early 1950s, filmmakers shot on nitrate film stock, which turned out to be not just unstable but highly flammable. Over the years, entire studio collections went up in flames, sometimes accidentally and sometimes on purpose, to avoid the costs of storage. According to the Film Foundation, a nonprofit founded by director Martin Scorsese to restore and preserve important films, about half of the U.S. films made before 1950 have been lost, including an astounding 90 percent of those made before 1929.
Even if the complete film could be found and was capable of being restored, an extremely unlikely event in the first place, there has to be a commercial or cultural reason to do so.
Restoration is time consuming and expensive and there has to be a significant reason to attempt it.