Thursday, August 18, 2011
LOST CONTINENT (1951)
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. ***.