The Lost World is a 1960 De Luxe Color and CinemaScope fantasy adventure film directed by Irwin Allen and loosely based on the 1912 novel of the same name by Arthur Conan Doyle. The plot of the film revolves around the exploration of a plateau in Venezuela inhabited by cannibals, dinosaurs, carnivorous plants, and giant spiders. The cast includes Claude Rains, David Hedison, Fernando Lamas, Jill St. John, and Michael Rennie.
|The Lost World|
|Directed by||Irwin Allen|
|Screenplay by||Irwin Allen|
|Based on||The Lost World|
by Arthur Conan Doyle
|Produced by||Irwin Allen|
Jill St. John
|Cinematography||Winton C. Hoch|
|Edited by||Hugh S. Fowler|
|Music by||Paul Sawtell|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|July 13, 1960 (U.S.)|
|Box office||$2,500,000 (US/ Canada)|
Professor Challenger (Claude Rains), a celebrated biologist and anthropologist, reports to the London Zoological Society that he has discovered living specimens of supposedly extinct animals, including dinosaurs, on an expedition to the Amazon Basin and up a barely known plateau.
Much to Challenger's dismay, he has attracted a few very unscientific people to join him on his second journey to the Amazon. This expedition group includes big game hunter Lord John Roxton (Michael Rennie), newsman Ed Malone (David Hedison) whose publisher advances $100,000 to pay for the expedition. The publisher's adventurous daughter, Jennifer (Jill St. John) and son David join the group at the head of the Amazon. Also, in the group is a Zoological Society bigwig (Richard Haydn), helicopter pilot Gomez (Fernando Lamas) and sidekick Jose Costa (Jay Novello).
During the first night on the plateau, a dinosaur wrecks the helicopter. As the expedition proceeds, Malone chases a primitive jungle girl (Vitina Marcus) through cobwebs to a giant spider. The native girl later falls for David. Roxton argues with the others, and jealousies over Jennifer leads to a fistfight between Malone and Roxton.
They discover a diary of a previous explorer, Burton White, who was lost on the plateau. Roxton is mentioned several times in the diary. Roxton reveals that he had visited the plateau years before, and claims the plateau holds a bounty of diamonds. This motivates Jose to stay with the party instead of striking out on his own to escape from the plateau.
At one point, Malone and Jennifer are separated from the others and have a near death encounter with two battling dinosaurs. Cannibals capture the members of the party, but before they can become dinner the jungle girl leads them to a passage that leads down off the plateau. Along the way, they encounter Burton, now living as a blind hermit.
They encounter more obstacles — pursuit by cannibals, spider plants, the "Graveyard of the Damned", and a dinosaur in a lava pit guarding the diamonds, which kills Costa. Gomez is killed while breaking a rock dam, killing the dinosaur.
During a volcanic eruption, the survivors of the Challenger party escape from the plateau, Challenger carrying the egg of a Tyrannosaurus rex. The financial security of the party is secure because Lord Roxton filled a couple of the bellows pockets of his hunting jacket with diamonds, and shares them with everyone. The dinosaur egg hatches when it is dropped by accident, and Professor Challenger decides to take the infant T. Rex back to London with them.
In 1959, Allen purchased the rights to Doyle's novel for $100,000. He wanted to make the film with Trevor Howard and Peter Ustinov in support of Rains, as well as Victor Mature and Gilbert Roland (who had been in the 1925 film). He hired Charles Bennett to help him adapt the book into a script and commissioned Willis O'Brien, who worked on the 1925 film, to do the models. He said he wanted to start filming on 15 October 1959.
Special effects for the film were rather basic and involved monitor lizards, iguanas, and crocodiles affixed with miniature horns and fins. Director Allen later stated that though he wanted stop motion models, he could only work with lizards and live creatures in accordance with the studio's budget.
Irwin Allen utilized stock footage from this film for episodes of his various TV series, including Land of the Giants, Lost in Space, The Time Tunnel, and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. In 1966, Irwin Allen even tried to sell a TV series based on the film, as he had done with Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, but was unsuccessful. Stock footage was also used in the movie When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970).