Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

LOST CONTINENT (1951)

LOST CONTINENT (1951). Director:Sam Newfield.

When a firebird rocket designed by ex-Russian scientist Michael Rostov (John Hoyt) goes awry, Major Joe Nolan (Cesar Romero) is assigned to finding it so that they can figure out what went wrong. He takes Rostov and others along with him to the South Pacific and discovers the rocket, which terrified the natives, landed at the very top of a high mountain covered by fog. Although no one else seems interested in the rocket, Nolan decides everyone has to ascend to the mountain top immediately, even though they haven't got decent climbing shoes let alone any other standard equipment. In another bit of illogic, the oldest man on the team, Rostov, looks after the least athletic, Briggs (Whit Bissell), even though there are several younger, able-bodied men in the group. The interesting thing about Lost Continent is that the climbing scenes are quite well-done, and have some suspense, which dissipates for the most part the minute the men reach the top [where everything is bathed in a greenish tint] and some crudely animated stop-motion dinosaurs appear. These include a charging brontosaurus and two triceratops who get into a bloody battle. Hugh Beaumont (Michael Shayne, Leave it to Beaver), Sid Melton, and Chick Chandler are in the cast, as are Hillary Brooke and even Acquanetta, however briefly. The acting isn't bad and neither is the movie, all told. The movie with its plateau of monsters was obviously influenced by Doyle's The Lost World, filmed in the silent era and again in 1960.

Verdict: This could have used Ray Harryhausen FX, but it's still minor-league fun. ***.


4 comments:

dj Buddy Beaverhausen said...

One of the first films I saw as a kid, at age 3 -- on tv -- that fascinated me so much, I insisted on being taken to the movies. The first two films I subsequently saw was a kidee matinee of "It Came from Beneath the Sea," which didn't scare me, & "The Wizard of Oz," which terrified me.

William said...

That's hilarious! I guess those weird flying monkeys ARE pretty scary to a kid. The giant octopus made more of an impression on me, especially since it even roared.

dj Buddy Beaverhausen said...

The flying monkeys were pretty scary but the scene in which Dorothy is gazing into the crystal ball, crying, saying, "Auntie Em, come back" only to have the witch reply from the ball, mocking Dorothy & breaking into her trademark evil laugh had me so scared, I broke into tears. :)

William said...

You probably weren't the only kid who did that. I would call you a big sissy only I once got hysterical when a fireworks display started and immediately had to be taken home, so I'm in no position to criticize anyone, LOL!