This doesn’t quite meet the criteria for the “Golden Age” of Hollywood, but I’m making an exception. This movie came out in 1925, which means two things: it’s a silent film, and it’s officially the oldest movie that I have ever seen. It also marks the first time I’ve ever reviewed a silent film. I first became aware of this movie a couple of months ago when I watched the 1933 version of King Kong, and I knew I’d have to watch this eventually since it really is the “father” of all such films released since.
The movie is so old that the original doesn’t exist anymore. This version, available for free on Amazon Instant Prime, starts off by letting you know it is the most complete restoration of the film available (it’s also colorized, it you want to call it that). I can only judge the movie based on the version that I see, but this one is sporting “over 50 percent more footage than any version since the film’s release.”
I’m not going to go into all the details regarding the plot for this one. The gist of it is that a Professor is given a journal of an explorer named Maple White from a lost expedition in Venezuela. The journal contains sketches of dinosaurs, so Professor Challenger has all the proof that he needs to know that dinosaurs still roam the Earth. The Professor (I like capitalizing it, like he’s a Gilligan’s Island character or something) joins up with some others to go on a rescue mission: find Maple White and the dinosaurs.
Yes, there are dinosaurs (and ape-men) in part of Venezuela, and they cause havoc for the crew. This means we get to see some great stop-motion fight scenes between the different dinosaurs. Like King Kong that came after it, the stop-motion holds up pretty well (I don’t think it is as good as King Kong in that respect, but still enjoyable without being laughable). If you’ve seen King Kong, you know exactly how this movie ends.
The Professor and his crew bring a living Brontosaurus back to London as proof of the dinosaurs and to be put on display for all to see. Yeah, right. Naturally, the Brontosaurus escapes and begins terrorizing London. It ends with the cool scene of the big beast trying to cross the famous Tower Bridge, but causes the bridge to collapse and the big dinosaur swims down the Thames River. If you see something big in the Thames River, it is not a loch ness monster, it’s just a Brontosaurus from Venezuela… leave it alone.
I did enjoy this one a great deal, which for me is saying something considering it’s a silent film. Like any good silent film, The Lost World features a really great soundtrack; but I don’t know who composed it or if the music in this version is the same as the music in the original. Whoever did the music for this particular version though did a really good job though as the music helped set the pace and tell the story.
It’s only an hour and 33 minutes, so take a little time one day and sit back and watch this silent classic that inspired everything from King Kong to Jurassic Park and showed the world how to do a live-action dinosaur flick all the way back in 1925. It’s highly enjoyable from just about start to finish (I say almost because it does start off a little slow, which is understandable given the plot).
Truly a classic in every sense of the word.
The Lost World gets a four out of five: GREAT.