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|Index||61 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
TLW is a classic piece of 50s/60s Hollywood cheese, literally
overflowing with cheerful, exuberant prattle and every cliché in the
dino book. The movie never lets up - not even for a second - in its
dissemination of goofiness and hooey, but doing it with a Disney-like
naivety that is almost screaming for an MST3K drubbing.
TLW has a bearded scientist who had just come back from the Amazon (where else), where he supposedly saw dinosaurs. In fact, they were just a couple of iguanas with horns stuck onto their heads, and perhaps a Jesus lizard or two. He actually sweats over how to finance another expedition (as if a dino claim wouldn't shower him with generous offers and/or a plethora of other expeditions going there straight away), so he gets blackmailed into taking along a whole B-movie circus of hoy-paloy characters who would normally go out for a game of cricket, not so much the outer reaches of Jurassic Amazon.
One of the comic-book characters joining him is Jill St John, who joins him on his way to the Amazon without any acting classes in tow, much to the dismay and amusement of the viewer, but she's quite pretty so it matters not. And where else but in a 50s/60s movie would you have a rich, beautiful, happy millionaire's daughter cling on to a guy 3 times her age. No, not talking about the professor for he's too old even for Jill. I'm talking about Michael Rennie, who looks older even than her father. Eventually Rennie, realizing perhaps that he should have had grand-kids by now, makes the path free for the slimy journalist to step in to woo her, but not before the two beta males have a fight-out in which Rennie fights like a girl btw. Nevermind the dinosaurs and the biggest zoological discoveries of the 20th century, because our characters have their heads full of flirting and diamonds, that's all they seem to care about. Oh, yes and revenge. They are obsessed with flirting, diamonds and revenge. This is where Lamas comes in with his over-the-top "macho"-Latino character.
The scientist seems to be rather "lost", too. He refers to the iguana dressed up as a stegosaurus as a "brontosaurus". The iguana and the make-up department went through all that trouble in making the lizard look like a stegosaurus and how does the non-professorial professor reward them for this effort? He calls him by the wrong name. Of course there is the obligatory battle between an iguana and another small lizard. How many lizards can say they'd been immortalized in a Hollywood flick? I can't really remember who won that spiffing duel, but I think it's safe to say that a small lizard came out on top.
In the end, there is a lot of molten lava, the usual back-stabbing, diamonds and girlfriends, i.e. the usual B-movie claptrap. In these 60s-movie expeditions there is a weird phenomenon whereby the moment a team sets foot on an unexplored island or land, the volcano there seems to starts getting active, melting and even blowing up at least several mountains by the time the end-credits roll. Naturally, all the Westerners escape, leaving the locals to try and make ends meet in the post-apocalyptic wasteland full of dead dino body parts. The slimy journalist gets the girl, the badly-educated scientist gets his plastic ostrich egg, and the viewer gets to wonder what the heck happened to all those Ray Harryhausen effects he'd been promised. There wasn't one stop-motion scene in the entire movie. Liars.
And yet, in spite of all this, the 1960 "The Lost World" is far better than Spielberg's "The Lost World".
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was 8 in 1960. And here was a big, colourful, widescreen film with
adventure, excitement, dinosaurs, giant spiders, natives, cliff edge
escapes, volcanoes - wow! Now, pushing 60, I am not so demanding as to
insist that movies from 50 years ago should have effects executed to
the same standard as the best of today's - far from it. In fact, I
still have huge affection for the best effects movies of my childhood
(by which, of course, I mean those by Ray Harryhausen).
But hindsight illuminates the offerings of Irwin Allen as very much missing something on the effects side. I'm not entirely sure what or why, but they never quite go as far as they need to for the suspension of disbelief. Perhaps it's errors of scale, perhaps it's messy matte lines, and for sure it is lizards with fins glued on them. But there is something about Allen's films which always disappoints.
And the funny thing is that I was aware of it when I was 8, too.
I first saw this film in a theater when I was 7 or 8 years old in a re-release a year or two after it first premiered. By today's standards the special effects are laughable, but you must realize that back in 1960 the state of special effects were no where near where they are today. As a kid, I loved this film. Jill St. John in her pink stretch pants and bright red boots runs around calling for her poodle "Frosty," all the while trying to prove that she is worthy of being on the expedition. My sister and I used to have most of her dialog memorized and would imitate her line readings. The film moves along at a fast pace and I still find it quite entertaining - even with its cheesy dinosaurs. If it is ever released as a widescreen format DVD, I will be sure to buy it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Wonderfully bad entertainment. Jill St John is a disaster of Irwin
Allen proportions, David Hedison shows why he was perfectly suited to a
career as a LOVE BOAT passenger, and Fernando Lamas flourishes a yellow
guitar at every opportunity, even when held captive by cannibals -
prompting Michael Rennie to remark, "You're fond of the guitar, aren't
you?" (This, typical of the script's matchwood dialogue, is a far cry
from "Klaatu barada nikto.") Meanwhile Claude Rains struggles and fails
to recall the dignity of a long and poorly concluded career.
This is the kind of stupid movie populated with a half dozen annoying and expendable characters, clear dinosaur bait, and lets them all live until the last reel - even the poodle. The sort of idiotic picture that drops the most interesting elements of its source material in favor of juvenilia like Ray Stricklyn. The manner of awful flick that hasn't the sense to heed Roy Earle's famous dictum not to start off on a caper with a woman and a dog. But it is a scream to see aboriginal women with Melrose Avenue hairstyles, and it is remarkable from a scientific perspective to discover that a wooden stick may act as a dam for molten lava. I wonder why they didn't try that one in Pompeii.
It's too bad about Willis O'Brien dying with this on his conscience - he's credited as effects technician, but KING KONG this ain't. The jungle sets are almost as impressive as the miniature landscapes that used to come with Lionel train sets. These lizards roar angrily, but it's because of the rubber horns glued to their heads, and because they're drowning in boiling water. And giant tarantulas shot through an acid-green filter aren't nearly as scary as Jill St John's overdeveloped camel toe.
But who hasn't wanted to see a monitor lizard and a caiman fight? (PETA, probably.) It's likely to O'Brien's credit that their latex appendages don't come off while they're biting and whipping each other around. That they're dropped from a great height, alive, after this heartfelt performance is some sort of testament to how far we've come since 1960. The concluding shot is of a Tokay gecko masquerading as a baby T. Rex, and Rains' prophecy that it will terrorize London may just be true: I used to own one of those awful animals, and found to my unhappy surprise that it screams all night, with a hideous rattling cackle more unnerving than anything in this movie. Except maybe Jill St John's affected braying.
The original novel by Arthur Conan Doyle is a delightful thing, replete with all the romance, characterization and thrill missing from this pathetic attempt. Read that without fear. Don't see this movie without a bottle of Vicodin and a shot of rye.
You can watch "The Lost World" one of two ways:
1) As a maddeningly mangled version of the great Arthur Conan Doyle novel, turning memorable characters into crude stereotypes and adding a half-dozen others so you won't notice there's only one brief sequence featuring "dinosaurs" (magnified lizards with rubber collars, tortured into listlessly attacking each other).
2) As an early '60s camp fest, what with the babealicious cave girl, Fernando "you look mahvelous" Lamas as a tricky native, Frosty the poodle (he gets special billing!), and Claude Rains as a peppery pipsqueak Professor Challenger -- not to mention Irwin Allen's colored-lights-on-styrofoam special effects. Savor Fernando's peerless reading of the line "my helicopter!" upon seeing that the dinos have crushed same, making escape impossible. Best of all, Jill St. John (an Annette Bening without irony) in her pink pants and boots, who announces "I can ride, fly, and shoot better than any man I know" and then spends the balance of the movie shrieking and running for the strong arms of David "Al" Hedison. Or is it Al "David" Hedison?
Released on DVD with the sweet, rather innocent 1925 silent version... Conan Doyle loved it and in terms of character development, thrills, and faithfulness it's still miles ahead of every subsequent "Lost World" movie or TV series (including the recent "ecologically correct" Bob Hoskins fiasco).
Enjoyed this version of "Lost World", because Michael Rennie,(Lord John Paxton),"The Last Generation",'71 gave an outstanding performance as a Lord of England who had some very dark secrets that eventually became known to his fellow adventurers. Jill St. John,(Jennifer Holmes),"The Act",'84 gave some great female charm to this adventure story and managed to wear fancy outfits through out the jungle, almost in high heels. Claude Rains, (Professor, George Edward Challenger),"Twilight of Honor",'63, played a very comical role at times and was very different than his usual dramatic roles in the past and "The Invisible Man". The special effects are nothing like the present day, however, for the 1960's this really was not a bad try at Sci-Fi.
For me, this movie rates a "9 out of 10" and I'll tell you why. I have a great nostalgic feel for "Lost World." I saw it in July of 1960 when I was 8 years old. It was 20th Century-Fox's big Summer release. It had a fine cast, a workable script, excellent cinematography and a fabulous musical score. It has already been mentioned (by just about every reviewer) that the "dinosaurs" were dressed-up lizards and they were......BUT, to an 8 year old kid seeing that film in the CinemaScope (widescreen) process in a single-screen theater (remember them?) in stereo and that marvelous-looking (when it was new) Deluxe color, not only were those "dressed-up lizards" dinosaurs, but the whole thing was a "boys-adventure-come-true." And it was all wrapped up in about 97 minutes. I would LOVE to see this film released to home-video DVD in it's proper aspect-ratio and 4-track stereo sound. Be honest with yourselves now, all you armchair-critics, would you REALLY rather see "Jurassic Park" which, in the end, only had CGI dinosaurs going for it (it was really quite boring wasn't it?) or a "Lost World" which makes no pretentious political statements and just says to the viewer (to quote Sir Arthur) "I have wrought my simple plan, if I give one hour of joy, to the boy who's half a man, or the man who's half a boy." "Lost World" is a wonderful film which doesn't deserve the bad rap that it's gotten.
Professor Challenger tells experts that prehistoric beasts may still
walk the earth at a presentation in London and despite scepticism he
gathers several sponsors to pay for and accompany him on a journey to
find out. When the group become trapped on the island they discover,
ape men, Spanish survivors and beasts living together in a constant
battle for survival. However how will their arrival affect the
communities and how will they get news to the outside world?
Having only seen the recent TV remake of this story (with Bob Hoskins of all people) I decided to watch this version hoping for a bit of rubbery monster fun. Sadly I got nothing of the sort as this film has as much rubbery monster action as it does fun that is to say, none. The film opens with the set up and lots of wooden actors volunteer to go along on the expedition despite the obvious risk of being out acted by the trees all over the jungle. The film engineers some bickering to keep things moving and gradually we get to the "action". By this point I was hoping for something to distract from how dull and corny it all was but the sight of a real lizard made my heart drop this was to be my "monster" standard. This left me with the actual story to hold my interest and it totally failed to do so.
Without any real tension or excitement the whole thing plods forwards like so many spiky lizards going just where you expect it to and never making me care less about any of it. Normally I would suggest that stuff like this would still work well on a wet Sunday afternoon but I can confirm that it doesn't, having tried to watch it on just such a wet Sunday afternoon. The poor delivery is matched by the roundly average effects, which occasionally are the cheesy type that are fun but are mostly just rather lazy and limited shots of real lizards with horns on. It is rare in this sort of film that the effects are more lifelike than the cast but that is what happens here. Rains hams it up enough for everyone, leaving the rest of the cast free to be as stiff as boards and deliver bad dialogue in unconvincing fashions.
Overall a fairly poor creature feature that may not be any better or worse than the Doug McClure rubber-fests but is certainly a whole lot less fun. The lack of effects is a problem but of more concern to viewers will be the frankly stiff delivery of a solid story to the point where it is hard to actually care. The script is poor and, with the exception of a silly Rains, the cast can't do anything with it other than deliver in a wooden fashion. Even on a wet Sunday afternoon you can find better than this.
The film is very good and entertaining.It has good acting but the dinosaurs just resemble I guess you could say maximized current day lizard with little costumes on like spikes,plates,horns and such and the big roars that come out of their mouths are really loud.At the end when the little egg hatches and the little lizard comes out and makes that little cry I think that is so sad and I have tears in My eyes.I don't know why but I always have.Anyway if you like a movie where guys are trapped in an unknown place with dinos then watch this film!
Those poor monitor lizards forced to fight with attachments glued on
them. With god knows what type of paint used I fear they did not fare
well when the shooting was complete. If you can sit through this long
enough to see the "dinosaur" fights you'll see what I mean.
This movie is hysterically bad.
Along with the obvious misuse lizards is the stereotyping of the natives and their simple speech and that make this movie the cultural milestone it is not.
Unless you are high and want a chuckle at bad effects and rubber dialog do not waste your time with this one.
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