Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Lost World - 1960 1925 versions|
Actors: Michael Rennie, Jill St. John, David Hedison, Claude Rains, Fernando Lamas
Genres: Action & Adventure, Classics, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
An eccentric scientist (Claude Rains) returns from the Amazon with news of a distant plateau where creatures from the dawn of time still prowl the jungle. To prove his story, he gathers a team of explorers, including a jo... more »
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Trevor Willsmer | London, England | 12/28/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Irwin Allen's 1960 version of The Lost World may be shot in CinemaScope, but stylistically it fits right in with his 60s sci-fi TV shows (indeed, stock footage from the film found its way into his Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea series, as did co-star David Hedison). Originally intended to feature state-of-the-art stop-motion animation from Willis O. Brien, the special effects genius behind the groundbreaking 1925 version as well as King Kong, the ever-economical producer opted instead for the tried and trusted and, most important of all, much cheaper technique of supergluing fins and horns on real lizards and having them double for dinosaurs despite looking like nothing so much as lizards with fins and horns superglued on them. However, even had he spent the extra time and money, this modernised version was never going to be the definitive one: 'dinosaur' action is fairly thin on the ground and the novel's finale that sees a pterodactyl on the loose in London is unceremoniously dropped. Instead there's a lot of wandering around the Fox ranch and backlot, cameo appearances from the odd poisonous giant plant left over from Journey to the Center of the Earth, a tribe of natives with a yen for human sacrifice, a fortune in diamonds and the obligatory erupting volcano finale, though it retains a certain nostalgic Saturday kids matinée appeal even if most of today's kids wouldn't sit still for it. Claude Rains gets to grandstand as Professor Challenger while Michael Rennie's aristocratic big game hunter seems almost like a blueprint for George Lazenby's take on James Bond, with Jill St. John tagging along for no good reason other than Arthur Conan Doyle's thoughtless failure to provide any female roles in the original novel.
Fox's new Region 1 NTSC DVD boasts a fine 2.35:1 widescreen transfer, but the stereo tracks are reversed so that the left comes from the right speaker and vice versa. Along with original trailer, brief featurette, Movietone newsreel footage of a kids charity screening and a still gallery that's irritatingly locked so you can't fast-forward or reverse but have to play at normal speed for nine minutes (!), it also comes with the original 1925 silent version (which was, coincidentally, the first ever in-flight movie). Unfortunately it's not the relatively recently restored 93-minute version that's available separately but the 75-minute version preserved by George Eastman House. For many years the longest version available after multiple cuts for reissues as the film's ownership changed hands several times over the decades, for the more casual viewer it's still a welcome addition and offers a decent tinted print.
Willis O. Brien's special effects are still surprisingly good and way ahead of the 1960 version even if he was to perfect them further in King Kong (for which this film feels almost like a dress rehearsal at times), giving the film an epic scale in the volcanic eruption and stampede sequences, while Wallace Beery is a perfect choice for Professor Challenger, embodying the gruff, belligerent nature of the character to a tee. There are changes to the novel - not only is Bessie Love brought along on the expedition to search for her lost father (with none of the comic relief chauvinism from Challenger found in the 1960 version) but the pterodactyl that terrifies the streets of London has been changed to a lumbering Brontosaurus, which is certainly a change for the better - but then Doyle's book is rather light on plot to begin with. The dinosaurs aren't as well integrated into the story as you might hope - usually it's cutaways to herds of dinosaurs in their natural habitat - and the racial stereotyping from Jules Cowles' blackface routine as `Zambo' is painfully embarrassing and horribly unfunny (sample dialogue on seeing campfire smoke from the plateau: "That means our folks is still alive." "It MAY mean dat some of those cannibules dat drop dat rock down on us yistiddy am cookin' `em in dar stew-pot!"). But it's hard not to like a film with dialogue like "What are you thinking of, Paula - in this lost world of ours?" or Challenger's immortal "My brontosaurus has escaped! Keep off the streets - until I recapture it!" and where our hero's rival for his girl back home's affections is called Percy Bumberry!
Although not advertised on the packaging, it also includes a surviving one-minute fragment of the original trailer and seven-and-a-half minutes of stop-motion outtakes, one including an unplanned one-frame cameo by Willis O. Brien himself!
Lost world 1960
Joseph F. Pandolfi | san jose,calif.usa | 07/16/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I haven't seen this movie in 20yrs. It's an Irwin Allen film which means it's usually fun. The dinosaurs aren't. If i remember correctly there dressed up lizards. But it's a fun story with giant spiders, a lost tribe and an animal skin clad women. what more do you want from a 47yr old movie. The end of the film is the only real special effects they spent money on.The color of the film is bright and crisp. I do lean towards these types of movies so I hope you all enjoy it."
It Pales Next to Pal
Rob | Texas | 05/23/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Although Lost World includes one of my favorite long, lost actors, Michael Rennie, it's no comparison to it's contemporary, Journey to the Center of the Earth. In fact, it's amazing they were released in the same year. Journey is so much more a classic, yet it seems more dated. Lost World is inferior, but it has a more modern touch since Irwin Allen would dominate the special effects field for the next fifteen years. George Pal, on the other hand, though he had a few good productions in the Sixties, seems more at home in the Fifties. Lost World does have its moments, even working with a lower budget, but at least they wisely spent some of their dough on getting a good cast. Claude Rains is a delightful curmudgeon, and as noted, Michael Rennie is a guy I'd take on any expedition. The lizards as dinosaurs always had a split effect on me: They LOOK big and real, but they don't look like dinosaurs. However, the fight between the monitor lizard and the caiman (or whatever) made an interesting match-up! Just don't tell PETA. But overall, I would say the best special effect was Jill St. John's bra."
Billy Ray Guthrie | Gadsden, AL United States | 10/19/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Relishing this movie once again, amused by certain "Monday-Morning" condescending reviews, I'm reminded how personal a movie experience can be. Never mind the Nip/Tuck "dinosaurs," I relive again that year I turned 13, riding the bus in the rain to the other end of town! By myself! Standing in line at the single (now there's history) ticket booth , the fresh popcorn, the Milk Duds, the black cherry soda dispensed from that Rube Goldberg-like machine -- first cup, then ice, then syrup, then carbonated water (hopefully, in that order!!) Forget your sophisticated comparisons with current CGI tech. Movies like this summon one's lost youth and, therefore, are priceless.
As for the 1925 version, with a bit of perspective brought on with age it provides its own fascination. The "outtakes," consisting of unused stop-motion scenes, provide a very pleasant surprise. At 6:23 into this section, a single frame of O'Brien himself, caught posing one of the figures, stands frozen like a museum display, dedicated to the long-gone notion that, if you want to film it, you have to build it first."