Starring Claude Rains, David Hedison, Jill St. John, Michael Rennie
Written By: Irwin Allen, Charles Bennett
Directed By: Irwin Allen
Studio: 20th Century Fox
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No, this isn’t the sequel to Jurassic Park that didn’t even include the Goldblum or the lame-o TV series of the same name. This is the remake of a movie that is based on a book of the same name by one of the greatest writers of all time, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
This particular version of “The Lost World” is probably the most recognized and was rehashed by Irwin Allen and starred future “Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea” star David Hedison. In fact, some of the footage from “The Lost World” was recycled and used in an episode of “Voyage”.
“The Lost World” follows a world renowned zoology professor by the name of George Edward Challenger, no relation to Dodge Challenger, who has made an astounding discovery in the uncharted jungles of the Amazon…the discovery of living dinosaurs on a raised plateau that is separated from the outside world below. The rest of the world is skeptical of course, but an expedition is hatched to prove that the dinosaurs do in fact exist and to bring back proof of their existence. A makeshift crew is put together and the group makes their way to “The Lost World”.
Hailing from the 1960’s and being a product of Irwin Allen, you pretty much know what to expect from “The Lost World”. The story is much more modernized than the book and the characters aren’t as true to it as they should be but Allen manages to put his touch on both the characters and the story. The casting is hit or miss though. David Hedison plays Ed Malone, a reporter who is out of his league when it comes to surviving in the wild, but manages to hold his own in the starring role. Claude Rains as Professor Challenger is also a great choice as was Michael Rains as playboy high roller Lord Roxton but the inclusion of Ray Stricklyn as David Holmes and Jay Novello as the party’s guide Costa were very questionable choices. Their acting was far from suburb and personally, I feel that those characters were unnecessary to the plot and could have been eliminated entirely. Jill St. John also left a lot to be desired, as she seemed to be there just as the token girlfriend and to scream at the top of her lungs at every given opportunity.
Props to the prop people and the artists behind the set designs for “The Lost World” for making the world believable for the time period that the movie was made. The underground volcanic caverns were brimming with steam and faux lava and the forgotten plateau was both barren and full of exotic jungle life and prehistoric creatures. Well…as prehistoric as an iguana and a baby alligator with spikes and horns can get. With most sci-fi/fantasy movies of the 60’s, the dinosaurs were just lizards with props attached that would be let loose to actually fight each other. Yes, this was way before the time when a message would appear in a movie stating that no animals were harmed in the making of this film. Animals were indeed harmed in the making of this film…in a cheesy but I guess this could be believable kind of way.
Some of the negatives regarding “The Lost World” would probably have to deal with the inclusion of prehistoric tribes in the film. The accounted for nothing more than a King Kong-like scene where everyone was captured and were going to be sacrificed, then they escaped and a chase ensued kind of thing. I also don’t find it very believable that a hot prehistoric mamma would be running around a dinosaur infested jungle with perfect hair and make up and a not so tattered cavesuit.
It was nice to see that 20th Century Fox went all out in the feature department for this classic movie. Not only do you get a nice little behind the scenes featurette, news clips about the theatrical release, the original trailer, photos AND a comic book, but you also get another entire movie. The second disc in this set contains the original 1925 black and white silent film version of “The Lost World”. The features are so meaty that even the mighty T-Rex wouldn’t be able to handle seconds. I really loved the original artists sketches and concept art.
“The Lost World” is a science fiction masterpiece as a book and, although not nearly accurate enough, the Irwin Allen film is a strong homage to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel with its own flare. Overall, the acting is mostly strong and the sets are as believable as they could come in 1960. This isn’t just your dad’s “Jurassic Park”. It’s one fine film on its own.
The Lost World (1960)
The Lost World-Footprints on Sands of Time Featurette
Fox Movietone News
Original Theatrical Trailer
The Lost World (1925) Black & White Silent Film
4.0 Dolby Surround Sound
English and Spanish
Favorite Scenes: Anticipating the arrival on the forgotten plateau, the first dinosaur battle, escaping through the volcanic caverns
Running Time: 96 minutes