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The Lost World (1925)

Unrated | | Adventure, Fantasy | 22 June 1925 (USA)
The first film adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic novel about a land where prehistoric creatures still roam.

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Writers:

(based upon the novel by), (screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Paula White (as Miss Bessie Love)
...
Sir John Roxton (as Mr. Lewis Stone)
...
Prof. Challenger (as Mr. Wallace Beery)
...
Ed Malone (as Mr. Lloyd Hughes)
...
Gladys Hungerford (as Miss Alma Bennett)
...
Prof. Summerlee (as Mr. Arthur Hoyt)
Margaret McWade ...
Mrs. Challenger (as Miss Margaret McWade)
Bull Montana ...
Ape-man (as Mr. Bull Montana)
Frank Finch Smiles ...
Austin (as Mr. Finch Smiles)
...
Zambo (as Mr. Jules Cowles)
George Bunny ...
Colin McArdle (as Mr. George Bunny)
Charles Wellesley ...
Maj. Hibbard (as Mr. Charles Wellsley)
Jocko the Monkey ...
Jocko - the Monkey (as Jocko)
...
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
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Storyline

Explorer Professor Challenger is taking quite a beating in the London press thanks to his claim that living dinosaurs exist in the far reaches of the Amazon. Newspaper reporter Edward Malone learns that this claim originates from a diary given to him by fellow explorer Maple White's daughter, Paula. Malone's paper funds an expedition to rescue Maple White, who has been marooned at the top of a high plateau. Joined by renowned hunter John Roxton, and others, the group goes to South America, where they do indeed find a plateau inhabited by pre-historic creatures, one of which they even manage to bring back to London with them. Written by Ron Kerrigan <mvg@whidbey.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Mighty prehistoric monsters clash with modern lovers! See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Fantasy

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Release Date:

22 June 1925 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die verlorene Welt  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(1991 alternate) | (2000 alternate) | (Kodascope Version) | (original) | (1998 George Eastman House Restoration)

Sound Mix:

Color:

| (hand-colored)| (tinted and toned)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The strange, spiky Triceratops-like dinosaur was based on Charles R. Knight's famous painting of Agathaumas. Nowadays, scientists argue that such a dinosaur even existed. The painting itself was based on very fragmentary fossil remains, thus many features of the animal were purely speculative guesses. See more »

Goofs

The Plateau in the film has been described as a world that is "cut off from evolutionary development." If that were true then dinosaurs from different eras would not be in the same place, nor would there be any ape-men or humanoids. See more »

Quotes

Title Card: [first title card] In the office of the London Record Journal.
See more »


Soundtracks

The Lost World
(1925) (uncredited)
Music by Rudolf Friml
Lyrics by Harry B. Smith
Published in connection with the movie
See more »

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User Reviews

The Lost Film
30 June 2005 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

In this 1925 silent era film, a Professor Challenger (Wallace Beery) leads a group of British explorers to South America, to prove to the civilized world that there exists a land of living prehistoric creatures. What the explorers find is exactly that ... a rugged Amazon plateau inhabited by all kinds of dinosaurs. It's a wonderful film concept befitting Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's adventure novel. The dinosaurs were brought to cinematic life via stop-motion animation, the first time that the then new technique had been applied, on such a grand cinematic scale. For its visuals alone, "The Lost World" is an important film.

The problem I have is not with the film, but with the way the film has been mishandled in the eighty years since it was released. Much of the original film was lost or cut out, a sad commentary on the way our culture has underestimated the value of silent films. Recently, the film has been at least partially restored. That, in turn, has led to confusion as to the extent to which the film being watched reflects the original.

My understanding is that there is or was: (1) an original full length version, no longer available; (2) a thirty-two minute version shown as a short film; (3) a sixty-three minute original DVD version; and (4) a ninety minute restored, extended DVD version complete with soundtrack and commentary. None of these versions are exactly alike, and there may be other versions as well.

The version I watched was on DVD, and was sixty-three minutes in length; there was no soundtrack, no commentary. Since this version is vastly different from the original, and different from other versions, a conventional critique would be unfair. All that I can do is to make a couple of general observations.

The special effects were impressive for their time. But what I most liked was the film's sense of three-dimensional scale, as shown in many scenes, the tree bridge to the plateau, for example, or the rope ladder hanging down the side of the cliff with a person climbing down. Such scenes convey a sense of distance and height, important to any physical adventure or risk. What I found disconcerting was the scenes of dinosaurs detached from the characters. Most of the time, but not always, these dinosaur scenes were shown from the POV that would be optimal for the cinematic viewer, rather than from the POV of the characters. In other words, the dinosaurs were usually shown out of context to the film's narrative.

"The Lost World" (1925) is an important contribution to early cinema. Although the film may be somewhat tedious to watch and technically crude by today's standards, depending on version, the film will most surely be appreciated by film historians and by technicians interested in the evolution of cinematic special effects.


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