Mesa of Lost Women (1953)

Article #581 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 10-17-2002
Posting date: 3-12-2003

The ads for this movie featured a picture of Tandra Quinn, and asked the cinematic question “Have you ever been kissed by a woman – LIKE THIS?” In the movie, she kisses nobody, but she does an eccentric dance, for which she is shot.

The movie also features about fifteen minutes of the most awful narration imaginable by Lyle Talbot. It’s not his fault; it’s just the words he was given.

The soundtrack consists of a constantly strumming Spanish guitar, punctuated by the sound of a gorilla trying to play the piano. Okay, I don’t know for sure that it was a gorilla at the piano, but I do know that George Barrows is in the cast. The soundtrack is so “impressive” that no less a personage than Ed Wood lifted it for use in his movie JAIL BAIT.

The movie features the most ingenuous, congenial, courteous and well-mannered psycho in screen history. It’s a pity he isn’t scary.

The movie pioneered a rarely-used cinematic technique; once everyone is stranded on the mesa, the action is enhanced by having close-ups of dwarves edited in at random. I think the technique is rarely-used for a very good reason.

Jackie Coogan is in the movie. He has a deformed left eye just above the big black mole on his left cheek. When he’s being friendly, he’ll take off his glasses so you can get a good look at it.

The oriental character? Speaks in aphorisms.

A woman at one point finds she’s being stared at by a crowd of dwarves and beautiful women. She makes sure to give them several seconds in which to all run for cover before she informs her companions by yelling “Look!”

There’s a big spider in here somewhere. There’s also Katherine Victor, Mona McKinnon, Dolores Fuller, John George and Angelo Rossitto.

Put it all together, and you have the closest approximation I’ve ever seen to a fever dream I had once when I was running a temperature of 112 degrees.

It must be seen to be believed, but that only goes to show that sometimes disbelief is a good thing.

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