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

Friday, April 1, 2011


HIDDEN WORLD (1958). Director: Bert I. Gordon.

This lost, unreleased film is sort of an unofficial sequel to "Mr. B.I.G." s [Bert I. Gordon] 1957 monsterpiece The Cyclops. Marie Windsor, Henny Youngman (surprisingly good in a dramatic part), Richard Crane, Lynn Bari, and Noah Beery Jr. play members of an expedition who take a copter into the unmapped Mexican jungle to search for a lost treasure. At one point references are made to a "lost flier named Bruce who grew into a giant in this valley," stories which are discounted by most of the characters. Once the copter lands, Hidden World turns into a mini-Journey to the Center of the Earth as the expedition enters a tunnel that leads deep down into an enormous cavern filled with out-sized man-eating frogs and forty-foot giant men [who try to roast Henny on a spit at one point.] Henny tries to joke his way out of his predicament by saying to one of the giants "Take my wife -- please!" Whiny Katherine Squire plays a normal-sized tribeswoman who is constantly screeching at the giants to "destroy the invaders." The best scene has Squire picked up by a disgruntled big guy who bites her head off. The sequence with the expedition members surrounded by hungry, roaring toads with long, snapping tongues is also amazing. The film was unfinished but an upcoming DVD release uses stills to fill in for the missing footage.

Verdict: If you loved The Cyclops ... ***.

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