DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

THE LOST CONTINENT (director/writer: Michael Carreras; screenwriter: Michael Nassaka/based on the novel Uncharted Seas by Dennis Wheatley; cin ematographer: Paul Breeson; editor:  Chris Barres; music:  Gerald Schurmann; cast: Eric Porter (Captain Lansen), Hildegarde Neff (Eva Peters), Neil McCallum (First Officer Hemmings), Nigel Stock (Dr. Webster), Suzanne Leigh (Unity Webster), Benito Carruthers (Ricaldi), Tony Beckley (Harry Tyler), James Cossins (Chief Engineer), Dana Gillespie (Sarah), Jimmy Hanley (Patrick, the bartender), Daryl Read (El Diablo), Eddie Powell (The Grand Inquisitor); Runtime: 98; MPAA Rating: G; producer: Michael Carreras; 20th Century-Fox; 1968-UK)

"It's too ridiculous an adventure tale to be anything but ridiculous, but its weirdness makes it weirdly entertaining."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A visually garish straightly played camp Hammer pic from Britain, that becomes less and less coherent as it morphs from melodrama on the high seas to a surreal sci-fi /horror pic whereby lost sea voyagers discover a supposedly long lost prehistoric continent with monsters and a bad case of seaweed. It's over-plotted, senseless and with a sophomoric comic-strip story that shamelessly blends together soap-opera with cheesy special effect created monsters. It's too ridiculous an adventure tale to be anything but ridiculous, but its weirdness makes it weirdly entertaining. Michael Carreras ("One Million Years B.C."/"She"/"Shatter") is director, writer and producer, of this escapist nonsense film, and bases it on the novel Uncharted Seas by Dennis Wheatley.

An old tramp steamer, the Corita, unable to be insured, that's owned and operated by the desperate Captain Lansen (Eric Porter), who plans his last voyage, one in which he hopes to get rich by secretly carrying on board illegal explosives and selling it at his destination port. The captain sets out from South Africa for Caracas, Venezuela, with a few passengers of questionable character such as the deported mistress of a SA dictator, Eva Peters (Hildegarde Neff); a slimy thug named Ricaldi (Benito Carruthers), who was hired by the dictator to get back the securities his mistress stole; and a money-hungry despicable widowed doctor (Nigel Stock) on the run from malpractice suits and his hateful trampy daughter (Suzanne Leigh). Also aboard is the wastrel drunk ship piano player Harry Tyler (Tony Beckley).

Things are wacky from the get-go but get wackier in the second half, after the ship is flooded by a busted pipe and a lifeboat takes the survivors of a mutiny to where they can find land. When a storm hits, they end up on the Sargasso Sea, enduring seaweed that bites, keeps them stuck and tries strangling them at times. But they run into the Corita again--stuck in a seaweed graveyard of lost ships. Soon they are attacked by a 'ship of fools' crew from a centuries-old Spanish galleon, who are conquistadors surviving on stealing the supplies of lost ships. They approach the Corita wearing giant-sized balloons on their shoulders and dressed with snowshoes on their feet, and are babbling that their leader is a child-god (Daryl Read), El Supremo—the direct descendant of José Quintero, who is controlled by The Grand Inquisitor (Eddie Powell). But their attack is foiled and now the surviving Corita voyagers must see how to get out of this pickle they find themselves stuck in.

The sea-going characters go from one crisis to another, until the pic suddenly ends without proving they found a lost continent but instead proving that they did their best to survive a risible script with some dignity.

REVIEWED ON 1/9/2014       GRADE: C+

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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