Allen's Production of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World. 97
Produced and Directed: Irwin Allen
Lord Roxton: Michael Rennie
Jennifer Holmes: Jill St. John
Ed Malone: David Hedison
George Edward Challenger: Claude Rains
Gomez: Fernando Lamas (he doesn't look marvelous)
Professor Summerlee: Richard Haydn (the guy who introduces the Von Trapps)
Burton White: :Ian Wolfe (Mama Carlson's butler Hirsh on WKRP)
David Holmes: Ray Stricklyn
Costa: Jay Novello
Native Girl: Vitina Marcus
Stuart Holmes: John Graham
Professor Waldron: Colin Campbell
Screenplay: Charles Bennett and Irwin Allen
Special Effects: L.B. Abbott, James B. Gordon, Emil Kosa, Jr.
Effects Technician: Willis O'Brien
Music: Bert Shefter and Paul Sawtell
Produced and Directed: Irwin Allen
After the fire and lava behind the credits, we see an airplane
landing (initially, one thinks, anachronistically in The Lost
World, so, what? a "Technosaur"?) and reporters,
BBC and others, swarming Professor George Edward Challenger, who
decks Ed Malone and bitches about not having privacy. A poodle,
Frosty, comes over to Malone but we cut to owner Jennifer Holmes,
the boss's daughter, before we see get to the animal possibly
urinate on Mr. Slick. Off we motor to the Zoological Institute's
presentation of Challenger. His rival Summerlee introduces Challenger
at witty length, and Challenger ranks his recent discovery among
those of "Columbus, Edison, and Einstein." He has found
a plateau sufficiently cut off from its surroundings "as
to insulate the area from the laws of evolution." Native
superstition involves "Curipuri--the terrible spirits of
the woods . . . in other words, live dinosaurs!" Challenger
wants another expedition. Skeptical Summerlee will go. Sir John
Roxton, big game hunter and playboy volunteers. When Jennifer
Holmes gets turned down, Malone whispers, "It's a man's world,"
whereupon she asks, "Why don't you volunteer?" which
Malone does. When Stuart Holmes, the owner of the newspaper Malone
works for, puts up the money for the expedition, Malone is accepted.
The party meets up with Gomez, the helicopter
pilot, along with another South American guide. Gomez has brought
Jennifer, her younger brother David, and the poodle, despite the
dismay of Challenger and others; and we learn that Jennifer is
after Roxton, for his title he claims. We copter to the plateau,
"cut off from the march of time . . . a land where monsters
live . . . George Edward Challenger's Lost World!"
That night, roars near the campsite prompt
the humans to wander aimlessly in the woods. We see a lizard
go by with fins crazy-glued to him. Challenger says it's a Brontosaurus.
Whatever. It smashes the helicopter, stranding us all.
Summerlee nearly gets eaten by a prehistoric
cabbage, and Challenger taunts, "Well Summerlee, you may
not like vegetables, but they certainly like you." A dino-track
is discovered, and the poodle and Jennifer encounter a large iguana
eating sprouts and roaring. All witness the existence of this
"dinosaur," vindicating Challenger.
Next a native woman is sighted, usually called
a "creature" from now on: "After her Malone! Catch
her! She's invaluable!" She enters an icecave and whisks
past a giant dayglo spider which Malone shoots. It is decided
that this woman is not aboriginal, and that therefore there must
be a way up to the plateau from below. Malone and Roxton come
to blows over women issues, and Roxton finds a book in the shrubbery
where his jaw came to rest. This is Burton White's diary from
three years ago; you see, Roxton was supposed to help this previous
expedition in search of diamonds but never bothered trying to
find White, some other ijjits, and Santiago. All presumably were
eaten. Hm, think the Spaniards, diamonds! Oh, thinks Jennifer,
forget about that whole marriage thing I was angling for. Scumbag,
That "night" (night is suspiciously
sunny throughout this film), creature-girl is nearly raped by
Spaniard 2 (not Fernando) and runs to escape. Young David "Feckless
Idiot" Holmes captures her: "Why don't we try some sign
language, huh? Do you know what this is? It's a rifle. It shoots.
Bang, bang." (He didn't get the Mister Rogers part some
years later.) Summerlee is suddenly grazed by a bullet, the girl
runs, Gomez says he was conked from behind and his gun taken,
David tries to tell everyone someone taught the girl about rifles
before him, and we all decide one of the original expedition party
is still alive.
Malone and Jennifer wander out and have to
run from a Slurpasaurus (lizard with fake headdress and backplates).
Malone shoots it in the mouth and the two hide among rocks.
Another fake dinosaur and the original one fight viciously (where
the hell is the ASPCA? I thought this crap was outlawed after
One Million B.C. in 1940!). Malone tries shooting but
alas, his gun: "It's like a toy against them." The
lizards fall off a cliff.
The two return to an empty camp. Natives must
have captured everyone. Except the poodle. And except David
who explains that they appeared from above--oops, there's more.
These remaining campers are taken prisoner, join the others in
a cave, and prepare to die in a cannibalistic ritual after the
drum solo. Creature-girl offers a way out, so off through a cavern
of wind with natives in lukewarm pursuit we go. We stumble on
Burton White, now blind, who doesn't want to go with us and who
tells Gomez that Santiago is dead. White gives out more guns
and instructs us on directions through the caves to escape the
altar of sacrifice to the fire god. We trek through lava caves
and through the tendrils of grasping slime, into the graveyard
of the damned, where dinosaur eggs and diamonds are discovered.
Gomez pulls a gun, saying Santiago was his brother and he wants
to kill Roxton. A dinosaur appears out of a lake and eats the
other Spaniard, and somehow Roxton saves Gomez, who then runs
to sacrifice his life yanking on a log which somehow unleashes
rocks and lava onto the dinosaur (but wouldn't the log . . . never
mind). Gomez falls into the sea of hot goo.
The rest emerge in time to see the plateau
blow up volcanically. Challenger laments: "My lost world,
lost forever." However, they did manage to save proof of
their adventure: Roxton has diamonds which he gives to Malone
and Jennifer who now are on the marriage track somehow ("Mrs.
is still the best 'title' for a girl"); and the dinosaur
egg hatches a tyrannosaur which Challenger predicts will grow
big enough to wreak havoc on London, at whcih point they should
all move out. Ho ho ho. The End.
Beyond the character names, the film bears little resemblance
to the Doyle tale. Too damned many people are along for the ride,
and we just don't need half of them. All the plot changes are
simply screwy and come blurting forth in premise-spasms randomly
throughout the film. Though colorful, the film is irritating
to sit through.
The dinosaurs are photographically enlarged
lizards, and are enjoyable to see eating and slurping the air,
but distressing to see encumbered with all the glued-on crap to
make them into things that look like dinosaurs only insofar as
they don't look like lizards anymore. Pitting the two lizards
against each other for the fight scene is inexcusable. More humans
need to be killed instead.