DENNIS SCHWARTZ 
IS THERE ANY GOOD 
IN SAYING 
EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?

 
LOST WORLD, THE (director: Harry Hoyt; screenwriters: story by Arthur Conan Doyle/Marion Fairfax; cinematographer: Arthur Edeson; editor: George McGuire; music: R.J. Miller (1991); cast: Charles Wellesley (Maj. Hibbard), Bessie Love (Paula White), Lloyd Hughes (Edward J Malone), Wallace Beery (Prof. Challenger), Lewis Stone (Sir John Roxton), Alma Bennett (Gladys Hungerford), Arthur Hoyt (Prof. Summerlee), Arthur Conan Doyle (Himself), Bull Montana (Ape Man); Runtime: 64; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Carl Laemmle, Sr.; Milestone; 1925-silent)

 
"The tremendous special effects of Willis O'Brien, who later did the same for King Kong, make this film essential viewing for film historians."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

This lost silent, a marvelous pioneering effort in stop-motion animation, was recently restored but still lost was half of the film--including the footage from when before the caves were discovered by the explorers in the lost world. Though the film feels choppy, the tremendous special effects of Willis O'Brien, who later did the same for King Kong, make this film essential viewing for film historians and those who love special effect films. A 35mm print of The Lost World was found in the Czech film archives. The film that reportedly took seven years to make (and with no Kubrick to blame for the delay!) is directed by Harry Hoyt from a 1912 novel by Arthur Conan Doyle.

It opens in London where young reporter from the London Record Journal Edward J Malone (Lloyd Hughes) wants to marry Gladys Hungerford (Alma Bennett), but she only wants to marry a man of accomplishments. So Malone asks his managing editor for a daring assignment and is sent to interview the surly Professor Challenger (Wallace Beery). The adventurer just returned from the Amazon and is planning another expedition to a "lost world."  The fiery eccentric Professor is being ridiculed for saying he discovered dinosaurs in the Amazon jungle at a meeting by invite only for scientists. The Professor dares the skeptics to come on an expedition with him to the unexplored Brazian jungle and he will prove that some forms of prehistoric life still exist. His only takers are a skeptical 60-year-old coleopterist professor named Summerlee (Arthur Hoyt), his friend big-game hunter Sir John Roxton (Lewis Stone), Miss Paula White (Bessie Love), whose poor explorer father Maple is still missing in the jungle and wishes to join the expedition to find him, and the "doubting Thomas" newspaperman Malone. He literally has to get in a fistfight with the riled up Professor, who resents all reporters for the way they mock him, before he gets the okay to go. Malone talks his managing editor into financing the adventure as a human interest story about the rescue of explorer Maple White.

The heart of the film takes place in the Amazon, and its special effects are delightfully innovative and seem a marvel that they were created back in those primitive days (before CGI and all the other modern technologies). The explorers arrive at a great plateau and find a prehistoric world with dinosaurs and ape-like men. They get trapped there and later will get rescued by a Major Hibbard, some kind of Englishman Brazilian official, but never find Maple. But while there Paula and Malone fall in love and Summerlee, a former minister, officially marries them. The group will also bring back in a crate a brontosaurus (created from a rubber suit). The conclusion has the monster getting free of the crate in London and roaming through the streets until he breaks the London Bridge in half and escapes in the Thames, and is last seen making his way to the ocean.

REVIEWED ON 8/21/2005        GRADE: B

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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