The Lost World (1925)

dir. Harry O. Hoyt. Journalist Ed Malone joins an expedition to rescue lost explorers in South America who have gone missing on their search for a secret plateau where prehistoric creatures have lived undetected for millions of years. Malone embarks on what the film itself rightly describes as a “Stupendous Story of Adventure and Romance!” This was so much fun, a real adventure soap opera, with overlapping love triangles, physical humor, and giant dinosaur battles. The film is marred by an unfortunate racist portrayal of a local guide named Zambo, complete with black face and broken English. Many interesting links to later films, including the distinctive mountain terrain from Pixar’s UP (2009), and the clever monkey from RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981), with many more Indiana Jones links along the way. Based on the original story by Arthur Conan Doyle, I did appreciate the reference to his famous detective, with a professor donning a deerstalker hat and magnifying glass. The plot is remarkably close to KING KONG (1933), to the point that it’s almost a retread of the same story – another connection is that pioneer special effects artist Willis O’Brien created the creature effects in both films.

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