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The life and times of a real, down to earth, nice guy. A relocated New Englander formerly living somewhere north of Boston, but now soaking up the bright sun of southwestern central Florida (aka The Gulf Coast). Welcome to my blog world. Please leave it as clean as it was before you came. Thanks for visiting, BTW please leave a relevant comment so I know you were here. No blog spam, please. (c) MMV-MMXV Court Jester Productions & Bamford Communications

Saturday, July 10, 2010

SNMR 8.14: "The Lost World" (1960)


Professor George Edward Challenger (Claude Rains), an eccentric scientist, returns from the Amazon claiming the existence of an Amazonian plateau where dinosaurs still roam the earth. To prove that he's not lying, an expedition is organized to assess the validity of Challenger's claim. Consisting of a fellow scientist, a playboy-adventurer (Michael Rennie), a journalist (David Hedison), a beautiful socialite (Jill St. John) and a pilot (Fernando Lamas). Oh, can't forget the whiney yet ultimately sacrificial Mexican servant! An unexpected attack on their camp (by the dinosaurs we assume...) destroys their helicopter, leaving the group stranded in the prehistoric jungle where humans can be had for dinner.

This film was released 50 years ago this week (July 13, 1960). I had never seen it before but borrowed it from the library because of the interesting DVD cover art and becasue of the great Claude Rains, who starred in some of my favorite classic films.

I really am not familiar with any of the other actors in the cast. Michael Rennie nine years earlier starred in The Day the Earth Stood Still and Jill St. John, who serves no purpose in the film except to add a female presence to the cast, would gain fame eleven years after this film as the Bond girl in Diamonds Are Forever. St. John and Vitina Marcus, the relatively silent 'native girl' provide good 1960's era eye candy.

However, this movie is cheese pure and simple. In this case that's not necessarily a good thing. The acting, like many movies of the 1960s, is flat and uninspiring. This may be Claude Rains' worst film in a long and excellent career.

I was also expecting to see some really cool 1960s era special effects dinosaurs, but instead got modern, prosthetically enhanced, super-sized, probably non-meat eating, lizards posing as the ferocious dinos. The ending is dumb. It's as if the writers forgot one major plot point and decided to go have a beer at the pub instead.

The screnplay is based on the novel by the great Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and a remake of the 1925, pre King Kong, silent film. Because of the reputation of the source material's author, I had high hopes for this movie. Oh well, you can't win 'em all.

The two disc DVD set comes with the 1960 color version and the 1925 silent film. Unfortunately I did not get a chance to watch the earlier version, so I may have to borrow this DVD again in order to remedy that.

*¾ out of *****

The Lost World (1960, NR, 97 minutes), starring Michael Rennie, Jill St. John, David Hedison, Claude Rains, Fernando Lamas, Richard Haydn and Vitina Marcus. Based on the novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Screenplay by Irwin Allen and Charles Bennett. Directed by Irwin Allen.



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