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The Lost World (1925)

Passed | | Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi | 22 June 1925 (USA)
The first film adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic novel about a land where prehistoric creatures still roam.

Director:

Harry O. Hoyt

Writers:

Arthur Conan Doyle (based upon the 1912 novel by), Marion Fairfax (screenplay)
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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Bessie Love ... Paula White (as Miss Bessie Love)
Lewis Stone ... Sir John Roxton (as Mr. Lewis Stone)
Wallace Beery ... Prof. Challenger (as Mr. Wallace Beery)
Lloyd Hughes ... Ed Malone (as Mr. Lloyd Hughes)
Alma Bennett ... Gladys Hungerford (as Miss Alma Bennett)
Arthur Hoyt ... Prof. Summerlee (as Mr. Arthur Hoyt)
Margaret McWade ... Mrs. Challenger (as Miss Margaret McWade)
Bull Montana ... Ape-man (as Mr. Bull Montana)
Frank Finch Smiles Frank Finch Smiles ... Austin (as Mr. Finch Smiles)
Jules Cowles ... Zambo (as Mr. Jules Cowles)
George Bunny George Bunny ... Colin McArdle (as Mr. George Bunny)
Charles Wellesley Charles Wellesley ... Maj. Hibbard (as Mr. Charles Wellsley)
Jocko the Monkey Jocko the Monkey ... Jocko - the Monkey (as Jocko)
Arthur Conan Doyle ... Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
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Storyline

A expedition to rescue Maple White, who has been marooned at the top of a high plateau. Joined by hunter John Roxton, and others, the group goes to South America, where they do indeed find a plateau inhabited by pre-historic creatures, one of which they even manage to bring back to London with them. Written by Ron Kerrigan <mvg@whidbey.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It Will Astound You and Enthrall You! See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the American Film Institute's 2001 list of 400 movies nominated for the top 100 Most Heart-Pounding American Movies. See more »

Goofs

Professor Challenger travels to the Lost World to prove his claims that dinosaurs still live, yet no one on the expedition seems to have brought a camera. See more »

Quotes

Prof. Challenger: [title card] My friend, Sir John Roxton! Accepted! Your record as a hunter of big game will add weight to your testimony - if we return!
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Alternate Versions

In 2005 Best Entertaintment AG issued a German dubbed version (without titles), running about 80 minutes, on DVD. It is also available separately on some DVD compilations. See more »

Connections

Edited into Attack of the 50 Foot Monster Mania (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

The Lost World
(1925) (uncredited)
Music by Rudolf Friml
Lyrics by Harry B. Smith
Published in connection with the movie
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User Reviews

 
Years ahead of its time
5 October 2006 | by jluis1984See all my reviews

More than 80 years after its release, the first adaptation of "The Lost World" remains as one of the most influential silent films ever, due to Willis O'Brien pioneer advances in the field of special effects, as it showcases the first time stop motion animation was used to create creatures on a feature length film. These innovation was of huge importance for this and future films, and earned Willis O'Brien and his dinosaurs a place in history as an iconic image in film history, only surpassed by another of O'Brien's creations: King Kong.

Based on Arthur Conan Doyle's novel of the same name, "The Lost World" is the tale of Prof. Challenger's (Wallace Beery) epic quest looking for the living dinosaurs who supposedly live in the deep Amazonic jungle, according to the journal of his fellow explorer Maple White, who disappeared in his last exploration. Maple's daughter, Paula (Bessie Love) joins the expedition looking for her missing father, as well as Sir John Roxton (Lewis Stone), an experienced hunter friend of Challenger. Prof. Summerlee (Arthur Hoyt) goes as well, hoping to prove that Challenger is a fraud, and finally, reporter Edward Malone (Lloyd Hughes) joins the expedition, hoping to prove his girlfriend Gladys (Alma Bennet) that he is brave enough to face death.

Cleverly adapted by Broadway playwright Marion Fairfax (who also adapted in 1922 another of Conan Doyle's works, "Sherlock Holmes"), the film is an excellent mix of action and adventure that even when it's not entirely faithful to the novel, keeps the spirit of wonder and fascination with the unknown. From the obsessive Challenger to the incredulous Summerlee, every character is very detailed and for the most part well constructed, giving each one of them a defined personality and a certain degree depth absent in many silent films.

However, the film's best remembered characteristic is the incredible special effects by Willis O'Brien, who after mastering his craft in short films got his first work in "The Lost World" and changed special effects forever. His imagery is very vivid, and very detailed considering the limited resources he had. Sadly, Harry O. Hoyt's direction takes zero advantage of Fairfax's story and O'Brien's effects, and delivers a simplistic and unoriginal work that adds nothing to the whole work and seems to let the cast and crew do their job. It's not a bad direction as a whole, but it feels uninterested on the many possibilities a film like this posses.

The cast is quite effective, and really does a great job with what they have, starting with legendary Wallace Beery, who as Prof. Challenger delivers one of the best performances in a silent film. Without the aid of sound, Beery shows a wide range of emotions in his complex character and is great in both drama and comedy. Lloyd Hughes is very good as the cowardly Malone, and showcases a talent for comedy as well as a romantic figure, as his character shows interest in Paula White, played by Bessie Love, who makes a fine counterpart to Hughes and delivers a natural, and fresh performance. Lewis Stone completes the cast and his dignified performance as Sir John Roxton is very effective.

It's safe to say that "The Lost World" owes more to O'Brien and Fairfax than to O'Hoyt, and that probably with a more experienced director the film would had been even better. However, the film's real problem has nothing to do with the way it was made, but with the way it was preserved during most of its history. Nowadays there is not a complete version of the movie, most home video versions are of the 64 minutes version, while one (Image) is of a 93 minutes reconstruction. And while probably that version is the closest we can be to the original runtime of the film, it sadly has modernized the dialogs, to the point that some lines are rewritten to fit our modern standards.

Hopefully, one day we'll be able to see "The Lost World" as it was intended to be, but meanwhile, we can still appreciate the enormous importance of its amazing special effects, and how it forecasts films like "Jurassic Park" in many ways. This epic tale of action, adventure and horror has probably not seen a better adaptation than this, the movie that set everything for the arrival of King Kong and changed special effects for ever. 8/10


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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

None

Release Date:

22 June 1925 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Lost World See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,194,450

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,834,000
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1991 alternate) | (2000 alternate) | (Kodascope Version) | (original) | (1998 George Eastman House Restoration) | (2016 Serge Bromberg's Lobster Films restoration)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Color:

Black and White | Color (hand-colored)| Color (tinted and toned)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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