|The Lost World|
News & Updates
|Director: Harry O. Hoyt
Original Release Year: 1925
Running Time: 63 minutes
DVD Released By: GoodTimes Entertainment
Closed Captions: None
UPC #: 018713812223
Catalog #: 05-81222
Status: Available (individually; was also available as part of the Dinosaur Mania Box Set)
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|Reviewed by: Zillamon51|
|The Film: The eccentric Professor Challenger returns to London from an expedition in the jungles of South America. When he claims to have discovered an isolated plateau inhabited by dinosaurs, he is met with public ridicule. He organizes an expedition to return to the Lost World. Joining the expedition are: Professor Summerlee, who believes Challenger is a fraud; Sir John Roxton, a prominent big-game hunter; Paula White, a young woman whose father was stranded on the prehistoric plateau; and Ed Malone, a reporter who helps gain financing for the trip.
When the explorers arrive at their destination, they make their way up to the plateau. There, they witness living dinosaurs, including brontosaurs and triceratops, in their natural habitat. The scourges of the plateau are the allosaurs that mercilessly hunt and kill. The explorers aren’t the only ones doing observation, though. They are stalked by a malicious ape-man, and his chimp (!) companion.
It appears Challenger’s party may suffer the same fate as Mr. White when a brontosaur knocks over the bridge to the plateau. While they try to make the best of their situation, they witness an allosaur drive a brontosaur over a cliff. Soon, a volcanic cataclysm threatens the entire plateau. After a means of getting off the plateau is found, the group discovers that the fallen brontosaur is still alive! They arrange to build a cage for the creature and take it back to London. Once there, the dinosaur escapes and wreaks havoc in the streets before heading out to sea.
This original film version of The Lost World, based on the novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is notable for a number of reasons. It was the first feature-length film to showcase the effects work of stop-motion innovator Willis O’Brien. Audiences of the day were amazed by the spectacle, and it was a big hit. Nowadays, the animation looks fairly crude in comparison to what O’Brien would accomplish in King Kong (1933). The design of the model dinosaurs is a mixed bag; some look good, while some are mis-proportioned or lack texture. The jungle sets are well done, and the sheer number of prehistoric beasts on display wouldn’t be rivaled for a long time. The ape-man is suitably creepy. The climax, with a brontosaurus on the loose in London, was the first scene of a giant monster in a modern city ever put on film. The acting is good throughout, and at only 63 minutes, the film runs at a brisk pace. (In the years after its initial release, The Lost World was cut down by a full third, and the original prints were lost or destroyed.) Recommended, both for its historical value and for being a pretty good dinosaur yarn in its own right. Grade: B
Video: The film is preceded by a disclaimer: “This vintage material has been preserved on DVD in its original form, using the best available elements.” The Lost World is presented in the original fullscreen. The image is flat black & white (some other editions of the film are color-tinted). There are frequent speckles and lines on the print, and a few missing frames. This is to be expected with a film of this vintage that has not undergone extensive restoration. There is sometimes a slight flickering, and the image sometimes fades out towards the edges of the frame. These are both common with silent films. Sharpness and black levels are okay; not great, but very watchable. Some darker scenes are very murky. Thankfully, the transfer lacks the digital artifacting common on B&W DVD’s from budget companies. Considering the age of the film, it doesn’t look too bad. Grade: C
Audio: This is a silent movie. There is no spoken dialogue or sound effects, only musical accompaniment. The music is a pretty standard silent-movie organ score. It’s unobtrusive and unremarkable. The basic mono sound on this DVD is perfectly serviceable. Grade: B
Extras / Menus: There are no extras. The menus, which are still images with no music or sound, are very simple and easy to navigate. The inclusion of 12 chapter stops in a film this short is quite generous. Grade: F
Final Analysis: The video image certainly has its imperfections. Overall, this isn’t a bad presentation of the film, considering the very low price tag. For more discerning fans, Image Entertainment offers a restored version. It has a more complete running time, color tinting, and multiple music tracks. This GoodTimes disk is fine for kids, or viewers unfamiliar with the film who just want to check out a classic. Final Grade: B-
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