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 ...
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Bert I. Gordon
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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 <email@example.com>
Sam Newfield was one of the, if not THE, most prolific directors in American film history. Counting features and two-reelers, Newfield racked up close to 300 films in a career that started shortly after the turn of the century and ended in 1958. Newfield churned out movies so quickly and on such a regular basis that one studio he worked for, PRC (owned by his brother, Sigmund), tacked the names "Sherman Scott" and "Peter Stewart" on much of Newfield's output so it wouldn't look like one man was making almost all of PRC's product. As can be expected, much of Newfield's work is of little or no importance (his Buster Crabbe westerns for PRC in the '40s are especially worthless), but every so often something would happen and Newfield would turn out a film that was coherent, professional-looking and even (gasp!) entertaining. He was assigned by producer Sam Katzman to the Tim McCoy series of westerns for Puritan in the mid-1930s, and some of them are actually tidy little gems--tight, humorous, well-staged little examples of the best of the B-western. "The Lost Continent" is among Newfield's best work--in fact, it probably IS Newfield's best work. Working with a larger budget than he was usually accustomed to (even given the fact that it was a cheapo Lippert production), and given a stronger cast than he got in many of his films, Newfield manages to do quite a good job with what he is given. The story (an Air Force plane trying to recover a lost missile that has landed in what turns out to be a prehistoric jungle, complete with dinosaurs) is nothing much, but Newfield's pacing is quite steady, the dialogue isn't as mind-numbing as the usual Newfield extravaganza, and he actually manages to generate some suspense (a first for him) with the Russian character played by John Hoyt (is he or isn't he a Commie spy?). The crude stop-motion dinosaurs are cheesy and badly done, but since they seem to have been thrown in at the last minute, they don't really detract from the film all that much. If you're familiar with Sam Newfield's work, this will be a revelation to you. If you're not, check it out to see what is the best film in an otherwise almost completely undistinguished career.
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