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A popcorn movie if ever there was one!
phillindholm15 September 2007
Producer/director Irwin Allen had big plans for this one. He also had the big budget needed to craft a truly spectacular remake of the original 1925 classic silent film. And, he rightly felt that a new movie based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's science fiction masterpiece had better be up to the task. Allen originally intended using the "Stop-Motion animation" technique (made popular by Ray Harryhausen) to bring his prehistoric monsters to life. But, just as production was about to commence, Twentieth-Century Fox, who commissioned the film (and were then experiencing severe monetary shortages, due to production problems with their money guzzling "Cleopatra") slashed the budgets of nearly every film currently being produced. "The Lost World" was no exception, and Allen's dreams of a Sci-Fi Spectacular were crushed. Being a resourceful film maker, though, he did the best he could with what he had, and that turned out to be very good indeed.

For his cast, he chose British character actor Claude ("The Invisible Man") Rains to play the indomitable Professor Challenger, leader of the expedition. As Playboy Johnny Roxton, he cast another British actor, Michael Rennie. David Hedison played newsman Ed Malone, Jill St. John played Jennifer Holmes, daughter of Malone's publisher and Fernando Lamas was Gomez, the expedition's pilot. Supporting them were Jay Novello, as a cowardly guide, and Vittina Marcus as a helpful island native girl. Forced to forego his original Stop-Motion technique, Allen had to make do with photographing lizards, alligators and such, adding horns and gills when necessary. The result was pretty much the way it sounds - the creatures this bunch discovered were a long way from prehistoric beasts. Nevertheless, the movie entertains, with truly beautiful wide screen photography, a fantastic collection of colors which really bring the striking sets to eerie life.

As for the performances, they are decent enough. Rains has gotten plenty of criticism over the years for his bombastic Challenger, but that's the way the character was written, and Rains is true to the material, and highly enjoyable too. Michael Rennie is a bit colorless in his big game hunter part, but he does have some good scenes as well. David Hedison is OK as Malone, who falls for Jennifer (Roxton's girlfriend) though their romance must have ended up heavily edited, as there's little evidence of it here. Ms. St John and Ms. Marcus are mainly eye candy, (this WAS the '60s after all) but act capably enough, though for a woman described as "brave as a lioness". Jill certainly does a lot of screaming while dressed in a very flattering, if impractical wardrobe (which includes a Toy Poodle). Ray Stricklyn is very persuasive as her rather immature but compassionate brother. Lamas and Novello are the supposed villains of this piece, though Lamas has a reason for his hostility. Allen's direction is good and the score by Bert Shefter and Paul Sawtell adds immeasurably to the drama and suspense. All in all, the picture is perfect Saturday Matinée fare, and though the script is talky in places, it still delivers the goods at the climax. The movie is a textbook example of a period when celluloid escapism was all viewers demanded, and here, they got it In spades.

Fox Home Video has just released "The Lost World" as a two-disc DVD set, with special features (trailer, newsreels and galleries of promotional material) from the film on disc one, and a restored version (with a few outtakes!) of the 1925 original on disc two. Allen's film looks wonderful in it's anamorphic CinemaScope transfer, and after years of suffering through the faded pan-and-scanned prints used for TV and video this is really a revelation. The new stereo soundtracks are equally impressive and make this film, from a producer/director who would one day be known as the "Master of Disaster', (thanks to such fare as The Poseidon Adventure' and "The Towering Inferno") a must have for collectors.
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It just isn't what it shoud have been . . ..
Bruce Cook2 March 2002
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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Great entertainment for 6 year olds of all ages!
Gary17045930 September 2007
Along with King Kong this is one of the first films I remember seeing, on Saturday night TV sometime in the mid '60's. My expert judgement at 6 years old was that it was the best film ever made, over the years since it has somewhat slipped down my list – but at least is still in it! Viewed through rose-tinted spectacles I still enjoy watching it and trot the vid out every 5 years or so for another wallow in personal nostalgia. Viewed dispassionately I think it's also better than both 1925 versions – the long was too slow, the short unintelligible; forget any others.

Eccentric Professor Challenger challenges crusty Professor Summerlee in public to go with him on an expedition to find a plateau in South America where he (claimed) he saw prehistoric dinosaurs roaming around. A motley party is assembled to make the trip consisting of a cynical aristocrat with a secret, his eye-fodder girlfriend in pink and her eye-fodder brother, the hard working reporter who fancies her, and 2 dingy latins with plenty of secrets. A couple of hours after landing they discover … prehistoric dinosaurs roaming around partial to wrecking helicopters, and we discover Challenger appears rather challenged when coming to name them. Corn abounds, the special effects are worse than in 1925, every plot device is telegraphed ahead, and every racial, sexual and class stereotype is out in force – but I love it just the same! At least Jill St. John didn't twist her ankle, and the sets weren't always cardboard though.

If you didn't see this when young and impressionable don't bother, however if you did and you're not a serious type it's worth a try. You still might be horrified but you might return to a lost world of safe family adventure movies.
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If making an impression counts....
Doylenova27 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I was six years old when this film came out, at which time my parents took me to the theatre to see it, and I have not seen it since! So, any comment I can make about this version of The Lost World will be from the point of view of a six-year-old! Having clarified that, let me just say this: It is one of only two or three films from my childhood that left such a lasting impression on me. It started my interest in dinosaurs, which continues to this day, and even now I can perfectly visualize the baby dinosaur (okay, so it was only a lizard, I didn't know back then!) hatching from its egg, and more than anything, wanting it for a pet!!! From other people's comments that I have seen here, perhaps, the special effects left something to be desired, and maybe, as intimated here also, the makers of the movie had hired the best special effects person and had hoped for more. Whatever the case, I was impressed to the point of writing this review 40+ years later and maybe all the special effects in the world couldn't have struck that same chord with me &/or many other children around the world? My husband, who comes from England, remembers having had a similar effect when he first saw the film! So, if making an impression counts, I'd say the film was, after all, very successful indeed!!
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Irwin Allen dinosaur adventure is high in corniness.
William14 April 2002
You would expect much more from an Irwin Allen film than 1960's The Lost World delivers. This film is high on silly-to-obnoxious characters, and corniness. The first few scenes in the film are particularly loaded down by corniness as we are introduced to the characters. There's eccentric Professor Challenger (Claude Rains) with his silly facial expressions, and boisterous but stuffy personality. There's Lord John Roxton (Michael Rennie) with his selfish and uncharming personality. There's Jennifer Holmes (Jill St. John) who starts out by trying to show the men a woman can also be worthy to take along on an expedition, but then becomes a useless, timid character who shows no strengths at all. The sexist remarks made by some male characters in the beginning become even more obnoxious, because Jennifer never comes through on showing strength, courage or ideas to help her crew members. The only strength she really proves is that she can pick out some elegant but inappropriate clothing to wear during the dangerous expedition. Jennifer has also brought along her silly, little poodle named Frosty. And then there's Costa (Jay Novello), a wimpy, greedy, seedy, little man. Throw in Fernando Lamas as Manual Gomez, the hired helicopter pilot who is also along for a side plot of personal revenge. He plots his murder-revenge and strums his guitar along the way (the natives even let him keep his guitar when the group is captured!) Not too many characters to really care for, but there are a few to possibly like such as Jennifer's brother, David (Ray Stricklyn.) David actually turns out to be more of a help then originally believed. A captured native girl (Vitina Marcus) turns out to be one of the better characters in the picture, but that is most likely because she has none of the corny lines and characteristics the expedition party's characters have. There's also corny drama from a love triangle that forms along the way. We all know Claude Rains (Phantom Of The Opera), Michael Rennie (The Day The Earth Stood Still) and others can do fine acting jobs, and the acting in this movie is fine--It's just most of the characters are so corny at times it should be embarrassing to the stars of the picture. The action in the film does not really build to any exciting levels as the crew is menaced by various creatures. The dinosaurs are lizards and reptiles with fins and horns applied to their bodies, and the giant spider is a rather lame effect (especially since it just hangs there, and only moves its legs a bit.) There is an unpleasant scene in which a real lizard fights a real reptile (portraying dinosaurs) that seems very politically incorrect by today's standards (and should have been a no-no even back in 1960.) Irwin Allen and 20th Century Fox could've done much better than this, and it is not nearly as good of a film as Journey To The Center Of The Earth (also from 20th Century Fox.) Still, The Lost World may entertain on a Saturday afternoon matinee level, and it is one of those movies collectors of horror and science fiction films will probably want to add to their 1950's and 1960's collections.
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Who needs Spielberg?
Coventry3 March 2006
It's such a damn shame that the youngest generation of cinema buffs only knows about "Jurassic Park", because they have been making really good dinosaur movies since the silent era already! Particularly Arthur Conan Doyle's legendary novel has always been a very popular story that received decent film versions in practically every decade. In case you know nothing about the plot just yet: the obnoxious and self-centered professor Challenger assembles a troop of unlikely adventurers to go on an expedition deep in the Amazonian jungle, because there's supposed to be a plateau where the dinosaurs never got extinct. The expedition sure is no field trip, since the plateau also homes giant funky green spiders and an aggressive tribe of aboriginals that don't really like intruders. Unavoidably the group also falls apart due to personal intrigues and two adventurers' mutual love-interest for the same girl. "The Lost World" by Irwin Allen by no means is a good film, but it's vastly entertaining, partly because the special effects and set pieces are so incredibly crummy! The dinosaurs are just ordinary reptiles, like lizards and even a crocodile, with fake horns glued onto them and filmed with a fish-eye lens so that they appear to be gigantic. Well, they obviously remain simple reptiles and totally don't evoke feelings of fear or engagement. The decors are quite nice, though, and this film definitely has the irresistible early 60's charm that never fails to put a smile on your face. Claude Rains, here in the final stage of his well-filled career, is excellent as the boisterous professor Challenge and he obviously amused himself with yelling at people and hitting them on their heads with an umbrella. The rest of the cast is rather forgettable, expect from the stunningly beautiful Vitina Marcus who plays the sexy native girl. Even though I only remember it vaguely, the 1925 version of the same story is a much better film, but this version will definitely appeal more to larger audiences.
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okay: which one of you nitwits forgot the map?
march9hare10 April 2004
Irwin Allen puts a saddle on the Conan Doyle novel and digs in the spurs in this silly adaptation of the eponymous book. Loaded with action but not much else, and well stocked with useless characters such as Frosty the poodle. SEE! Jill St.John, who starts off feisty but ends up as simpering baggage, explore the Amazon in pink tights. HEAR!! Michael Rennie murder the Spanish language. FEEL!!! The sense of loss as Fernando Lamas deadpans the line: "My helicopter". In an interview years later, David Hedison admitted that he HATED this movie, and it's easy to see why. With typical pre-release hype, Irwin Allen teased the public with promises of unbelievably authentic-looking monsters("like nothing you've ever seen before!"). Wrong: they were exactly like everything we've seen before. The actors, from Claude Rains to Fernando Lamas, are all good to very good, but not in this clunker. Their combined talents were wasted, as will be your money if you buy or rent this film. Get it ONLY if you feel compelled to complete a collection of '50s and '60s B-movies, otherwise: don't walk, run!
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Excellent first sound version of this story
Chris Gaskin16 June 2004
This was the first sound version of the Lost World and I think it is one of the best. The silent, 1925 movie is the best. There have been several remakes since this one.

Professor Challenger takes a party to an uncharted plateau where dinosaurs still roam. They arrive there by helicopter, but not long after they get there, this is destroyed by a dinosaur. Despite this, they explore the land and capture a native cave girl, who knows how to use a gun. We learn that Lord Roxton has been here on a previous expedition and he killed Gomez's brother. After a fight between two dinosaurs, the party are captured by unfriendly natives, who are cannibals. Luckily, the cave girl who the party captured earlier helps them to escape and after meeting Burton White, the blind surviver of an earlier expedition, make their way along a narrow ridge where Challenger nearly meets his death. The party collects some diamonds and then Gomez holds everyone hostage as he wants Lord Roxton dead, but the gun shot wakes the "fire monster" and it eats Costa. Gomez then meets his death by falling in the lava helping to open a rock door. The plateau then blows its top and everyone is safe. But one last explosion causes the dinosaur egg they found to fall on the floor and break, revealing a baby T-Rex...

The "dinosaurs" in this movie are enlarged lizards with fins and horns attached to them and an enlarged crocodile. This what director Irwin Allen wanted unfortunately. Pity he did not want stop-motion, despite Willis O'Brien helping with the special effects. We also see a giant spider and man eating plants.

The movie has a great cast: Claude Rains (The Invisible Man), Michael Rennie (The Day the Earth Stood Still), David Hedison (The Fly, Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea) and Bond Girl Jill St John (Diamonds Are Forever).

I enjoyed this movie, despite the non stop-motion dinosaurs.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
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This World Would Have Been Spotted by Air in 1960
bkoganbing5 May 2008
The Lost World might have been a better film if it had been set back in the time when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote the novel. Which would be in the pre-World War I days of 1912. Back then such a plateau might have escaped detection from modern man.

In any event it's been updated to 1960 and I remember seeing it for the first time at a downtown Rochester theater long since demolished and I was with my grandmother. She took me when I was by myself visiting them in Rochester. I remember the movie, but I also remember how slow she was moving. What I didn't know was that she was in the first stages of Parkinson's disease which would eventually kill her.

Seen as an adult it's a film better left to the juvenile set. And it could use a makeover now and replace those dinosaurs with the more realistic ones of Jurassic Park.

But I doubt we could get a cast as classic as the one I saw. Claude Rains is in the lead as Conan Doyle's irascible Professor George Challenger who was the protagonist in about five books. Not as many as that much more known Conan Doyle hero Sherlock Holmes, but Challenger has his following.

In this film he's back from South America in the country roughly between Venezuela and British Guiana at the time, deep in the interior at some of the Amazon tributary headwaters. He claims he saw some ancient dinosaurs alive on a plateau.

True to his name Claude Rains invites company and financing on a new expedition to prove him right. His rival Richard Haydn accepts as does big game hunter Michael Rennie and David Hedison who is an American newspaperman whose publisher promises financing for an exclusive.

Of course it wouldn't be right in the day of woman's liberation if the shapely Jill St. John, sportswoman and a crack shot doesn't come along with her brother Ray Stricklyn. Guiding the expedition are South Americans Fernando Lamas and Jay Novello who have an agenda all their own involving at least one member of the party.

Watching The Lost World again, I think of myself as a kid back in the day and even with such a cast it really should stay in the juvenile trade. And this review is dedicated to my grandmother Mrs. Sophie Lucyshyn who took me to the movies that day back in 1960.
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Interesting curio
tforbes-218 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
"The Lost World" may not be the best sci-fi flick made, obviously, and it has its share of detractors. But it reflects the sensibilities of 1960, and has to be taken as such.

That said, "The Lost World" is an interesting film to watch, because of the performers. We get to see David Hedison in an early role, as well as Claude Rains in one of his last ones. Michael Rennie fans should be glad, as well as those of Fernando Lamas.

But for me, seeing a pre-bouffant Jill St. John was loads of fun. She seemed older than 19 years old at the time, which is likely due to the makeup and costuming. Her presence alone makes this film worthwhile.

As for the special effects, it is sad that corners were cut here. However, the computer effects we take so much for granted today were not available nearly 50 years ago. Still, this is a fun film to watch, and an interesting curio.
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Stay Lost.
dunmore_ego21 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Dinosaurs! Uh, no, just komodos and iguanas with horns and spikes duct-taped to them....

Didn't matter when you were ten. And THE LOST WORLD (the second film adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's 1912 novel) is definitely FOR ten-year-olds, seemingly made BY ten-year-olds.

Been decades since I read the book, but screenwriter-director Irwin Allen takes Conan Doyle's exciting meat and potatoes story, changes it unnecessarily to accommodate his interminable padding (the gripping "volunteers" segment, the compelling "arguing-over-taking-a-woman" vignette, the tension-wracked "tentacles-that-don't-kill-anyone" obstacle, the thrilling "walking-slowly-through-the-dead-dinosaur-ribcage" scene - there's more padding here than in Kiera Knightley's bra) - then Allen adds cheese and plastic.


• As Professor Challenger, Claude Rains overacts into leading an expedition to a prehistoric Amazonian plateau, accompanied by:

• Michael Rennie (smug over-actor) • David Hedison (actionboy over-actor)

• Fernando Lamas (Spanish over-actor, who does a mean Ricardo Montalban; father of Lorenzo; some kind of gay subplot - him and another guy in a locket together - ?)

• Richard Haydn (British over-actor - best known for helping Chris Plummer and Julie Andrews escape Nazis in THE SOUND OF MUSIC)

• Jill St. John (stereotypical woman over-actor, whom Challenger doesn't want on the expedition because she'll bring her girl germs and pink luggage)

• a puling Mexican (ethnic over-actor, taking time off as a villager in THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN)

• a teen model (heartthrob over-actor, taking time off from a Frankie Avalon beach shoot)

• the hot cave girl (Vitina Marcus, with her animal-skin miniskirt designed by Tommy Hilfiger - d'ya think she's wearing undies?)


Spikes, horns, sails, spinal plates, head frills - all lackadaisically taped to plodding komodo dragons, soporific iguanas and an unfortunate caiman, which made them look like dinosaurs to people with the intelligence of cavemen.

We can expect bad effects from pre-CGI movies, but THE LOST WORLD fails for many other reasons: foremost being its blatant disinformation, voiced via its ignorant characters, and by association, the ignorant filmmakers.

After being "chased" by a forced-perspective komodo with a taped-on frill (roaring like an explosion coming through a tunnel), Challenger says, "We've just been visited by a Jurassic Brontosaurus!" If I can stop my head from exploding in outrage, I'll outline why this statement proves Irwin Allen's brain case is as small as outmoded thinking perceived dinosaur brain cases to be: Brontosaurus (correctly termed Apatosaurus) was known since the late 1870s. Even school kids in 1960 knew Brontosaurus. (Exactly how retarded does Allen think his audience?) And if you knew Brontosaurus, firstly, you knew this sleek, splay-footed lizard looked NOTHING like the bulky, tree-limbed Brontosaurus. You also knew it was a herbivore, and herbivores don't chase people to eat them - unless they are taunted by magnificent overacting.

At least those stop-motion dinosaur movies of the time displayed a level of art and ingenuity, in trying to portray dinosaurs at the state that science knew them. But these people just don't care! It's like maverick mediocrity Bert I. Gordon in KING DINOSAUR (1955) calling a forced-perspective iguana a Tyrannosaurus rex and expecting everyone in his audiences to squint real hard.

In this movie's defense, it came during an unenlightened age, when biological science took a step backwards and started regarding dinosaurs as big dopey versions of modern lizards. Very soon, it would be realized that dinosaurs were not reptiles, but Dinosauria, their own genus. They resembled reptiles as much as this movie resembled JURASSIC PARK. Their physiology, movement, bone structure, habits, appearance - were nothing like reptiles.

After the eight mismatched explorers stand around yammering for a good part of the film's running time, all standing facing the fourth wall to get their screen time on like an episode of FRIENDS, they are kidnapped by white-skinned natives who look suspiciously like extras who can't act.

The hot cave girl helps them find a path out of their cave prison by helpfully showing it to them right in front of their faces. (We wonder what axe she's grinding against her own people to aid the intruders' escape. Someone that hot would be spoiled bitchless in cave-culture - unless the gene to perceive hotness wasn't invented yet and she was considered mutated.)

Naff subplots about diamonds, past expeditions, Lamas sacrificing his life to save the others by letting a doll that looks like him fall into some lava...enough cheese and plastic to make a modern corporate theater hot dog proud.
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Entertaining As A Child
Theo Robertson13 November 2004
This film was shown a couple of times in the " Saturday Night At The Movies " slot on BBC 1 in the early 1970s and being a young child at the time I enjoyed it immensely . Come on lads if you're six years old any movie featuring dinosaurs in the present day is a movie highlight

It goes without saying that my enthusiasim for THE LOST WORLD has waned in later life . It has a totally B movie quality to it and is rather unsophisticated . There is still some amusement to be had at the special effects . Nowadays thanks to the power of technology we can watch convincing dinosaurs thudding around but in the 1960s we had to put up with actors standing in front of some back projection pretending they're frightened of a couple of giant lizards with massive fins stuck on them . Oh well at least the cheese factor means it's more entertaining than JURASSIC PARK: THE LOST WORLD
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Why Don't They Make Films Like This Anymore
david-sarkies16 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Well, this is not the sequel to Jurasic Park, as I originally thought it was, but I guess that is what happens when all you have is a label on a video cassette and have basically forgotten when you taped the movie because it was so long ago. Gee, all of that in one sentence, though I think I have done better.

Anyway, this is a simple adventure story where a scientist discovers dinosaurs in the Amazon Rainforest, goes to England, creates an expedition, and returns to bring back proof. While they are there, the helicopter is destroyed so they are stuck on the plateau and must pass vicious natives and rivers of lava to escape. And when they escape, they bring with them huge diamonds to make them rich beyond their wildest dreams - a typical American fantasy, or so for its time.

My question though is why don't they make adventure movies like this anymore? The last one was the Mummy, and the only really decent ones I have seen are the Indiana Jones trilogy and Congo (and maybe a few others thrown it). This does not include Jurassic Park as I would hardly call it an adventure movie, or even good.

The effects weren't that great, but it is the best one can expect from that time. The dinosaurs were basically lizards made to look big and had funny things attached to their heads. After seeing Jurassic Park, such effects make us gag, but once again we must remember the time. Also, if we see or like a movie based purely on its effects, then we are missing out on a lot of good stuff.

The other thing of note is that I found some of the scenery to be breathtaking, though most of it was filmed on a set.

I was going to give this film a 6, but decided, on policy reasons, to increase it to a 7, namely because I am purposely protesting against those who simply rate movies based on special effects.
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Jill St. John makes this film worthwhile
vpauld9 June 2006
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.
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A very different dinosaur film!
Movie Nuttball2 May 2003
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!
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The Dinosaurs Are Disguised As Lizards!
romanorum111 June 2013
Or you might say that the lizards are disguised as dinosaurs. Those were horrible models that passed for sauropods and theropods. The fact is that the reason the public bought tickets to see this film was to see real-looking dinosaurs in action (as I did back in 1960) and was deceived. The uninformed movie moguls used four-legged crawlers, and attached horns and fins and spikes and frills to their bodies, and simply called them genuine dinosaur names like Tyrannosaurus and Brontosaurus (now Apatosaurus). Although they magnified the sizes of the lizards, most of them lack teeth. Are these supposed to be rip-roaring carnivores, like Allosaurus? Hey, an alligator (or crocodile or caiman) with a glued-on fin kind of looks like a Dimetrodon, doesn't it? Actually the toothed head of a Dimetrodon was more box-like in shape. But a Brontosaurus crawling, and with horns on its head? A baby Tyrannosaurus on four legs equipped with three horns? Ugh!!! By the way, does a large theropod with huge teeth really need horns? Even the movie posters, which are not the best, also misrepresented the genuine appearance of the dinosaurs. They picture a Tyrannosaurus Rex with two large horns! These facts are very annoying to those who knew much of what there was to know about fascinating creatures that lived so long ago. Didn't anybody know about the great Ray Harryhausen and his special effects? The producer/director acted as if he did not know paleontology and fooled us, and we accordingly paid our admission. So, pardon my indignation.

When we get past the scientific inaccuracy galore, we see that the action part of the story fares a little better, but just a little. Very loosely taken from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 1912 book of the same name, Professor George Challenger (Claude Rains) and his group leave England to explore a hidden plateau located near the headwaters of the Amazon basin obscured by a deep jungle (western part of South America). Earlier, the irascible Challenger (he of the red wig) had discovered large prehistoric animals there, where the indigenous people call the "curipuri." The newly funded expedition was made to confirm his findings. An obvious mistake by the director is the idea that dinosaurs would escape detection anywhere in the world until 1960. Better to have the setting in 1912 or even 1925. But again, who was doing the thinking for this feature? The expedition includes, besides the umbrella-wielding Challenger, his rival, the skeptical Professor Summerlee (Richard Haydn) and inscrutable hunter/explorer Lord John Roxton (Michael Rennie) along with newspaperman Ed Malone (David Hedison). Uninvited but waiting for the four associates to arrive in Brazil are attractive Jennifer Holmes (twenty-year old Jill St. John) and her brother David. They manage to join the team. Jennifer is so badly under dressed that she fails by comparison with the women who were in the jungle with Tarzan. They wore the right clothes, not shorts and white shoes in the jungle. And she carries along her poodle in a basket! What? She says that she's good with a gun, but neither has a weapon nor demonstrates her skills. And she screams quite a bit. In the book no woman is part of the expedition, although the hero returns home to find that his girl has married another. Portuguese speaking guides are Gomez (Fernando Lamas) and Costa (Jay Novello). The former is the helicopter pilot, brave, but obviously has an agenda; the latter is cowardly and dubious, and also likes diamonds, yeah, large diamonds, like the size of golf balls.

Anyway, the director had early men living at the same time as the dinosaurs. Now scientists know that dinosaurs became extinct around 65 million years ago, long before the coming of man. But at least Allen followed the book in this instance. Actually the text had both dinosaurs and large prehistoric mammals living at the same time (in the Jurassic Period, which is erroneous). Gee, I wonder what happens when a Tyrannosaur (Cretaceous Period in the Mesozoic Era) engages a woolly mammoth (Pleistocene Period in the Cenozoic Era) in battle? In the feature's highlight, two crawlers actually fight each other. But what's with that giant green spider? What about the strange flora? Then we have nasty natives chasing and capturing our heroes. In the book there is a war between ape men and prehistoric Indians. In the movie an available maiden luckily shows our men a way out of the native cave-prison. But why desert her people? Ee-gad! Notice that the young lady (Vitina Marcus) hasn't a blemish on her lovely body? In that thick jungle? Despite supposed advantages in the art of movie-making, this feature cannot hold a candle to the superior 1925 silent version, which is better even in its present, unfortunately truncated form. Arthur Conan Doyle loved that original silent movie. But in the 1960 version, despite some good early aerial shots and cinematography, some of the sets are so cheap they look like they were filmed in a back lot. Normally the actors are decent to very good, except in this movie. There is some truth to the rumor that the best performances were done by the lizards disguised as dinosaurs. Of course they too were not helped by the weak script. Nice directing, Mr. Irwin Allen. You made a near-bust. That volcanic eruption came about an hour too late!
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Excellent adventure story; undeserved bad reputation.
barring88921 February 2006
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.
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Even on a wet Sunday afternoon you can find better than this
bob the moo2 April 2006
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.
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Disproves Conan Doyle's Theory of Life after Death - for Professor Challenger Anyway
rhinocerosfive-124 October 2008
Warning: 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.
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Irwin Allen's Lost Word
BaronBl00d25 December 2007
Okay, this version is everything most of the viewers have mentioned: decidedly trite and shallow script devoid of any real substance, wooden performances from a group of talented actors notwithstanding(for the most part), legions of clichés, some of the weakest, poorest, limited special effects seen for a movie of this caliber(what should have been shot that is), and the list could go on and on. I have no problem with almost any of that. So much could have been done with this film and the talents involved, but so little was done in terms of execution. The ho-nus of the blame must therefore go to Mr. Allen who I would never describe as a great filmmaker but who is certainly capable of better than this. Lets start with the script. It follows the pattern of all the Lost World films as a party leaves England for a hidden plateau in the Amazon region. Each person is to be a character in and of himself/herself. Claude Rains plays the fiery Professor Challenger with some conviction at times and is at the very least always a pleasant thick slice of ham. But Michael Rennie as the big game hunter Roxton, another good actor, doesn't fare nearly as well as he just looks too haggard for the role. What about David Hedison as the newspaperman along because his editor footed the bill - bland, boring, and unconvincing. Fernando Lamas - need I say more? That brings us to 2 actors - one whose performance adds immeasurably to the film because of wit and fine character acting skills and another who knows how to fill out a snug pink form-fitting pair of stretch pants and wear a low-cut blouse throughout the prehistoric jungle but has all the concern and fear of someone riding a subway. Richard Haydn gives the film's best performance playing a stereotype of a snooty professor constantly challenging Challenger with vigor and intelligence. I have always felt he was a fine character actor that just did not get the press and consideration he should have. Jill St. John plays the walking pink stretch pants and as an actress is just not convincing at all - but boy, can those pants move gracefully and with the utmost conviction! Irwin Allen's Lost World is not a horrible film or, for me, even a boring one. It is popcorn entertainment at best and will be sheer disappointment to those looking for prehistoric fun and something truly fantastical. It just doesn't have it. Just what do you get: maybe 3 lizards with horns applied to their heads somehow, a few natives that look un-native, and some big pink flower-like venus flytraps that shoot up and down like crepe paper. That is really about it. There is very little action for a film that should have been loaded with it. I am partial to the film for the actors involved(pink pants and all), the hokey, campy quality of the film, and the nostalgic sense it creates, but that will and should mean very little to most others. Bottom line, it is okay but you would do far better seeing the newer mini-series with Bob Hoskins as Challenger or, better yet, the silent version with the awesome, ground-breaking effects of Willis O'Brien.
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Lizards have cheap frills.
G.Spider19 June 1999
What's the point of hiring the most talented stop-motion animator of his day if you're not even going to let him do any animating? It's like hiring Fred Astaire and then telling him he's not to do any dancing.

This doesn't really follow the story in the Conan Doyle novel, but contain a few interesting twists and Challenger is certainly well-portrayed. However, the token female character (not in the novel) has a voice which is so badly dubbed-on that it's embarrassing. And who exactly thinks that lizards with spikes and frills stuck to them, not to mention Mexican Red-Kneed Tarantulas with green lights shone on them, are either frightening or convincing in the slightest? There is also a scene where two animals fight in very realistic fashion. One is reminded of cheap exploitation films where animals are forced to suffer indignities and suffering for the sake of cheering ghouls.

What could have been an entertaining film is just a tacky let-down.
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The Lost World
Scarecrow-881 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
While I'm a fan of adventure fantasy as the next nerd, unfortunately, a sci-fi picture like "The Lost World" has a plot that has become shopworn and a bit too familiar (watch numerous Irwin Allen shows from the 60s, like "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" or "Lost in Space" for reptiles "disguised" as dinosaurs, and the plot of this film is almost copied to the point of scenes practically being identical to that of an episode of "Voyage" in its First Season) to have the kind of resounding effect it might have had for kids back then. A group of characters (like a professor played with bluster and gruff by the wonderful Claude Rains and the dignified and proper Michael Rennie as wealthy hunter, and the usual assortment of colorful tag-alongs, like David Hedison (who would go on to star for Allen in "Voyage"), and curvy Jill St. John as the love interest that seems to come between Hedison and Rennie) pursue the location of a "hidden" world where prehistoric dinosaurs still exist, finding a lot more than they bargained for.

Diamonds, lava-flowing volcano eruption, cave-ins, a tribe with spears ready to sacrifice, and giant lizards—oops, dinosaurs all offer dangers to the cast. Included is the smokin' Vitina Marcus as a tribe babe (with a tan to die for) the group encounters and brings into the fold, character actor Ian Wolfe (he's been in a little bit of everything) as the blind, lost scientist Burton White, Richard Hadyn (the Twilight Zone episode "A Thing About Machines" and "The Sound of Music") as the hapless, always-embarrassed professor who accompanies them and often played as a comic foil, & Ray Striklyn and Fernando Lamas, both sketchy and perhaps not to be trusted (Lamas is amusing as the local who offers salutations to the group once they arrive to the jungle prior to traveling into the lost world). With diamonds, greed could motivate a gun from its holster and pointed at people.

Marcus seems to be in the film merely as eye candy, and I must admit that it was hard to pay attention to anything else going one when she's bandying about in such a skimpy costume of such barely-there rags. I can only imagine how cool this could have been if Willis O'Brien had been hired for stop motion effects instead of the laughable lizards used as fake dinosaurs that are very unconvincing. The Lost World, in widescreen color, looks every bit the large sets on a Fox lot. I felt like I was watching a television show of "Voyage" expanded to 90 minutes. Still, seeing Rains brushing annoying people aside that get on his nerves (at one point, knocking Hedison to the ground after leaving his plane!), and Rennie every bit the stoic gentleman (on screen) are fun to watch in the same film together. While Jill St John is stuck with the gold digger part, pursuing Rennie, thankfully she's likable enough to flesh out her character a bit (these kinds of films often feature the stunner with the well-manicured pet who has no business participating in a grand adventure that requires a tolerance for the outdoors, sweat, dirt, and monsters). Dinosaurs fighting with their tails threatening Hedison and St. John who try to keep from plunging off the side of a mountain and even the large flowers that open and close on humans who walk within them ("Lost in Space" fans will recognize this), Irwin Allen wasn't about to let such scenes and sets go unused after this film. For a Saturday afternoon, in need of an adequate adventure to waste some time on, "The Lost World" could do the trick, but I have seen "Voyage" episodes from the first season that are just as good.
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A Great Dinosaur Adventure of the 1960s
jvfunn119 August 2009
I just saw this 1960s version of The Lost World and I must say it's pretty amazing! It's like the Jurassic Park of the 1960s. In the movie a professor in London England decides to prove his theory about seeing dinosaurs in a Lost World by taking a group of explorers on an expedition to the Lost World where they not only find dinosaurs but a group of Natives as well! The dinosaurs I thought were just wonderful! I was just blowing away with them and the actors and actresses gave wonderful performances. I think Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle who wrote the novel of the same name would of been pretty proud of this film adaption of his novel! It's a true dinosaur classic 10 out of 10!
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Dino Cheese
laddie510 February 2008
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).
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Classic Actors & Classic Film
whpratt121 February 2006
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.
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