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Professor Challenger leads team of scientists and adventurers to a remote plateau deep within the Amazonian jungle to investigate reports that dinosaurs still live there. Written by
Marg Baskin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Unlike `The Lost Continent' (1951), this 20th Century Fox Cinemascope production had an ample budget -- but the money wasn't spent very well. A good cast (Michael Rennie, Claude Rains, Jill St. John, David Hedison, and Fernando Lamas) are all part of an expedition that discovers a plateau in South America where dinosaurs still thrive.
Unfortunately producer Irwin Allen elected not to use stop motion animation to create the dinosaurs. Instead, the audience is treated to two hours of disguised iguanas and enlarged baby alligators. Irwin Allen also co-wrote the script, which is burdened by an excess of soap opera melodrama. The good musical score, however, is by Paul Sawtell and Bert Shefter.
Top quality production values and good photography make the film easy enough to watch, but there's a tragic story behind `The Lost World'. Willis O'Brien, creator of `King Kong', spent several years during the late 1950s making preparations for a big-budget remake of his 1925 version of `The Lost World'. He made his pitch to producer Irwin Allen and the big wheels at 20th Century Fox, showing them the hundreds of preproduction drawings and paintings he had done. He succeeded in persuading them to make the film -- but Fox refused to let O'Brien do the film's special effects, substituting the poorly embellished reptiles instead.
From all reports, O'Brien's version would have been the greatest lost-land adventure movie of all time. Irwin Allen's lack of vision is puzzling in view of the fact that in 1955 he produced `The Animal World' with animated dinosaurs by Ray Harryhausen and Wills O'Brien! See my comments on `Animal World' for more info.
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