This one I recommend.

An unknown place, where dinousaurs still walk.

A fascinating piece of old-school filmmaking.

Dinosaurs in a film is nothing new to us modern movie-goers. Steven Spielberg showed them to us beautfully in Jurassic Park, Disney animated their world in Dinosaur, Terrence Malick gave us a look at them in The Tree of Life and so on and so forth. But there was a time when the idea of having dinosaurs in a motion picture was unthinkable. Then came The Lost World.

Directed by Harry O. Hoyt and adapted from the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle-novel of the same name, The Lost World is possibly the first film to ever feature dinosaurs. It has inspired many films and novels since; Michael Chrichton even named the second Jurassic Park-book after it. This is an old but greatly fascinating film, showing us what special effects looked like nearly 100 years ago.

In 1910’s London, the crazy Professor Challenger (Wallace Beery) finds sketches of dinosaurs in the journal of explorer Maple White, father of Paula White (Bessie Love) and immediately believes that he can find real dinosaurs on a plateau in Venezuela, where White created the sketches. Hence Challenger assembles a team to bring on an expedition to Venezuela. Sportsman John Rokton (Lewis Stone), journalist Edward Malone (Lloyd Hughes), an Indian servant named Zambo (Jules Cowes in blackface), Paula and others.

Zambo is one of those interesting, racist characters you would see more often in older films, because somehow they easily got away with it. Only in North did we recently see such an offensive character.

Most of the people on the team are sceptical at first, but after they’ve been on the plateau for a while, dinosaurs do indeed appear. Triceratops, Brontosaurs, Tyrannosaurs and such. Challenger wants to bring one home and show it to the people of London, hoping it will make him famous, but bringing a dinosaur back home works about as well here as it did in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, which had a similar climactic scene to The Lost World. Chrichton was a fan, I can tell.

Bit of a fun fact: this was the first film to ever be shown during a flight.

This film is not as recognized as Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsacks King Kong from 1933, but Willis O’Brien did the stop-motion effects for both films. It is not as impressive here as in King Kong, but he was just warming up. The special effects-work is outdated by today’s standards obviously, but good heavens is it fascinating! If you consider the age of the film, it dawns on you how difficult the film must have been to make, even if the effects look unconvincing at many times. Indeed, it did take them 7 years to complete the film.

Stop-motion can be tedious work today. Imagine having to work with all these models and all these dinosaurs back when even the motion picture was a new thing. We do work much faster today, but it can still take long to finish such a film. The first Wallace & Gromit-short took Nick Park 6 years to finish. But then again, now that we’re capable of creating films like Rango and The Advenures of Tintin, who really needs stop-motion any more?

The Lost World is a tremendously fun film to have seen; even young film enthusiasts, who are used to colorful explosions and detailed CGI, should see it just to get a look at how movies once looked and sounded. This one, for instance, has no sound other than the soundtrack. Much less do I recommend it to those who are uncultured and simply laugh at films that look to old for them. I know plenty of people with an inexplicable phobia of black-and-white film.

The acting in The Lost World, though, is something that can be laughed at sometimes. Because the film does not have any sound, the actors use over-the-top body language to express themselves and there are times when this can’t really be taken seriously. It is easy to look past, though. I believe it can be found for free on Voddler if you wish to see it.

This is truly a significant film in history. I guess that The Lost World can be called the first ever monster movie. This movie and King Kong inspired Ray Harryhausen and his many works is a different story for another time.

4/5 whatever.

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