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

Thursday, December 24, 2009


THE LOST WORLD (1960). Director: Irwin Allen.

"Eaten alive! Horrible! Horrible!"

Colorful and loose adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novel has a motley group trapped on a South American plateau with a variety of prehistoric monsters and cannibalistic natives. Fitted with bibs, horns and the like, the "dinosaurs" are actually rather majestic lizards, and the sets during the climax are redressed from Journey to the Center to the Earth [especially the Atlantis scenes). The peppery exchanges between Professor Challenger (Claude Rains) and Summerlee (Richard Haydn) are amusing, and Jill St. John as the only woman in the group is as saucy as ever. The climactic scenes as the party is chased by natives through the foggy Caves of Fire -- and encounter the monstrous Fire God -- are suspenseful and exciting. David Hedison, Michael Rennie, and Fernando Lamas don't do that much more than walk through the picture, but Jay Novello is as splendid as ever as the weasel-like Costas who winds up a blue plate special. Uneven effects. You have to see the pink poodle Frosty come up against a leaf-munching dinosaur to believe it. NOTE: For more on this film and others like it see Creature Features: Nature Turned Nasty in the Movies. FURTHER NOTE: It is best to see this in wide-screen and high definition.

Verdict: Silly but entertaining creature feature. ***.


Neil A Russell said...

This was the movie that almost kept Hedison from playing Captain Crane on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea on tv.
Or rather it was his experience with Irwin Allen that almost kept him from accepting the role.

If it hadn't been for Richard Basehart signing on to play Admiral Nelson on the show Hedison said he probably wouldn't even have returned Irwin's phone calls.

This was certainly an entertaining adventure movie. Irwin had the magic touch when it came to keeping the action moving, and how to get an all star cast (albeit a decade or so out of vogue) for his movies.

Some of the footage for this was retreaded a number of times in the Voyage tv series with one entire show a virtual remake of the movie.

I always thought that Irwin produced and directed from the perspective of the audience, not so much dwelling on the art form but on what it took to keep the action going.

One of the funnier moments is towards the end when the lava above the "Fire Dragon" or whatever he was called, is dammed up by some old logs.

How long does a tree last when it's poked into a pool of lava?

Classic IA nonsense but a fun movie nonetheless!

William said...

I often got the impression that Allen spent more time figuring out how to recycle footage from this picture on "Voyage" [TV series] and elsewhere than anything else! Parts of this movie were used almost as often as footage from "One Million B.C."