Living dinosaurs exist in the far reaches of the Amazon!
The Lost World (1925) is the first film adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic novel about a land where prehistoric creatures still roam. Explorer Professor Challenger is taking quite a beating in the London press thanks to his claim that living dinosaurs exist in the far reaches of the Amazon. Newspaper reporter Edward Malone learns that this claim originates from a diary given to him by fellow explorer Maple White’s daughter, Paula. Malone’s paper funds an expedition to rescue Maple White, who has been marooned at the top of a high plateau. Joined by renowned hunter John Roxton, and others, the group goes to South America, where they do indeed find a plateau inhabited by pre-historic creatures, one of which they even manage to bring back to London with them.
The first full-length Imperialist Adventure film was 1925’s The Lost World, which established many of the tropes of the cinematic version of the genre. In this adaptation of Conan Doyle’s novel, the Great White Hunters are joined by the romantic interest of a fashionable young lady in search of her father, a previous explorer of the land, and scale a plateau populated with dinosaurs and a rampageous volcano that saves its pyroclastic fury until the expedition arrives. Many more films followed in the tradition of The Lost World during that golden heyday of Hollywood in the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s. Among the most beloved films of the first one hundred years of motion pictures is King Kong (1933). Among the many people who worked on that film, the one person most responsible for its enduring success was master animator Willis O’Brien. The Lost World (1925) represented O’Brien’s artistic coming of age as a stop-motion animator.
Directed by Harry O. Hoyt
Starring: Wallace Beery, Bessie Love, Lloyd Hughes, Lewis Stone.