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Major Joe Nolan heads a rescue mission in the South Pacific to recover a downed atomic rocket. The crew crashlands on a mysterious island, and spends much time rock-climbing. They meet up with a native girl, a big lizard, and some dinosaurs. Written by
Marty McKee <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This film features three elements commonly found in science fiction movies; rockets, dinosaurs and radiation, although the latter plays only a minor part in the proceedings. It is interesting that this Lippert production features both rockets and dinosaurs since the original treatment for Lipperts ROCKET SHIP XM, made the previous year, the Martian explorers were originally supposed to find a dinosaur inhabited Mars, not the nuclear bomb destroyed Mars found in the finished film.
I first saw this film when I was a pre-schooler in the early sixties on a weekly saturday morning show called "Super Adventure Theater". Because I saw this film at a very young age, it's probably the only reason why I recall this film with fondness. Viewed as an adult, THE LOST CONTINENT is a fairly standard science fiction movie. The film moves along a good pace, except for the overly long rock climbing sequence mentioned several times in this forum by the films detractors. The stop motion dinosaurs are only moderately interesting. The effects seem to have been done by effects men who lacked experience in employing this technique. Note how the dinosaurs in most scenes only move one limb at a time and appear not to have been anchored down tight enough. However, despite the faults in the stop motion animation in this film, I will give the films producers credit for at least employing this technique instead giving us tired looking, put upon photographically enlarged lizards.
The films cast is acceptable, but no one gives a performance that would win any major awards either. Hillary Brooke was given top billing in the films ads, but her role here is minor, so minor that her scenes are often cut from many of the TV prints I have seen. Whit Bissel, who soon become a stalwart in fifties science fiction movies, is cast in a superfluous role as a scientist who falls off the mountain (in a surprisingly effective scene where he falls into a mist) before our band of merry mountain climbers encounter the dinosaurs. John Hoyt has the best part a the Russian exile scientist who becomes the films hero, in that it is rather unusual for a fifties film to have a Russian as a hero. However, all the characters except for Hoyt's, are stereotypes, but the not kind that was typically found in fifties science fiction movies. Thats because the typical fifties science fiction movie characters had not yet been invented. Instead, THE LOST CONTINENT features the kind of stereotype characters found in war movies.
The best part of THE LOST CONTINENT is use of green tinting in the scenes when the explorers are on the dinosaur inhabited mountain top. I had to chance to see the tinted version and thought it to give the film an interesting look. Its a shame so many black and white films that included tinting or colour sequences are shown only in black and white today.
THE LOST CONTINENT isn't a bad film really, I can't really sight anything, except for the overly long rock climbing sequence, thats done all that bad that would make someone dislike it, nor does anything stand out as exceptionally well done to make this film anyones favorite either. Its simply undistinguished. It is just another film, I don't think anyone back in 1951 saw this film and raved about it to their friends, but I don't think anyone walked out on this film demanding their money back either. THE LOST CONTINENT is like a great number of movies, the kind one sits through with only mild interest and enthusiasm.
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