The Missed Opportunity
After an exploration of a remote part of the Amazon rain forest Professor George Edward Challenger (Claude Rains) returns home and announces his exciting news to colleagues at the Zoological Institute that he has discovered dinosaurs still living in the jungle. His announcement is met with scepticism and laughter but he convinces Lord John Roxton (Michael Rennie), Professor Summerlee (Richard Haydn) and reporter Ed Malone (David Hedison) to return with him to the jungle to see for themselves. They are not the only ones as Lord Roxton's girlfriend Jennifer Holmes (Jill St. John) and her brother David (Ray Stricklyn) decide they want some adventure to despite Challenger's objections. But after taking a luxury helicopter to where Challenger discovered the dinosaurs things take a turn for the worse as the helicopter is destroyed leaving them stuck in a land of the dinosaurs but it also appears one of the party is a traitor trying to kill them.
The biggest compliment I can pay "The Lost World", the 1960 version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novel, is that it ends up a lot of fun. But in saying it is fun it is as much for what works as it is for what doesn't. And in being a movie which often steers uncomfortably close to being so bad it is good it is one of those movies which if you pardon me the expression "can turn a frown upside down".
Now of course since 1960 there have been various other versions of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novel as well as "Jurassic Park: The Lost World" which might have the name in common as well as dinosaurs is not related to Doyle's novel. But there is something about this 1960 version, that old fashioned adventure style where we have a group of fake people stuck in a strange world with fake monsters to battle which makes it still so much fun. Basically you know exactly what to expect and it is a case of just sitting back and enjoying the ride for both the good parts as well as the bad.
As such once the set up is in place and are group have headed to the Amazon you can already guess that they will end up stranded, having to do battle with dinosaurs as well as deal with a traitor in their ranks. But it does get shall we say a little far fetched even for a fantasy, sci-fi movie when it comes to the troubles which this plucky group face as they try to make it to safety.
But for all which is entertaining about "The Lost World" it makes one colossal mistake and that is when it comes to the special effects. Here is a movie which screams out for the stop motion work of Ray Harryhausen but instead we get the cheesy reptiles with horns stuck on them instead and it is actually upsetting to see such fake effects in a movie which could have been so much better. But the knock on effect of these cheesy special effects is that you become more aware of all the other bad stuff especially the cheesy dialogue.
What this all boils down to is that "The Lost World" is entertaining but as much for all the cheesy stuff which goes on as for what is good. But what is a shame is that whilst better special effects wouldn't have cured all the problems it would have been so much better if they had spent the money on stop motion creatures than the super imposed reptiles which really let it down.